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Turkey Deploys More Troops to Contain Kurdish Guerrillas

April 28, 2006|From the Associated Press

ANKARA, Turkey — The government has deployed more than 30,000 additional troops in its predominantly Kurdish southeast to fight separatist guerrillas and to prevent any from entering through the rugged border with Iraq and Iran, officials said Thursday.

Kurdish rebels Wednesday killed two Turkish soldiers and injured a third in a grenade attack on a military outpost, the Anatolian news agency reported. At least 17 Turkish soldiers and more than 40 Kurdish guerrillas have been killed this year.

The Turkish deployment, which has been underway for several weeks, boosts a garrison in the region that is believed to be 250,000-strong.

Guerrillas of the banned Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, have bases in northern Iraq but also have substantial forces in southeastern Turkey. They typically step up their attacks in the spring, when snow melts, clearing mountain passes.

Iran also reportedly has moved forces to the border. Last week, it shelled a mountainous region in Iraq used by anti-Iranian Kurdish fighters believed to be linked to the PKK.

Iraq has expressed concern over reported troop concentrations on the borders.

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