sirnak.jpg
Photograph: Google maps

Two members of a pro-government local militia were killed by a roadside bomb in south-eastern Turkey on Saturday, the Dogan news agency reported, adding that officials were blaming the armed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

The explosion took place in Sirnak province, near the border with Syria and Iraq. The area has seen waves of heavy fighting over the last year since a ceasefire between the state and the PKK collapsed after peace talks stalled.

The two village guards who were killed were acting as part of pro-government armed units in the south-eastern regions of the country. One village guard was also injured.

Meanwhile, the state-run Anadolu news agency, citing the military, reported two waves of airstrikes against alleged PKK targets in northern Iraq, where the group has bases. The strikes, aimed at 10 targets, took place Friday afternoon and Saturday morning.

Controversy over the Kurdish minority's place in Turkey has led to a cycle of violence and the deaths of at least 1,786 people over the past 12 months, including at least 663 members of the PKK, according to the International Crisis Group think tank.

The Turkish government confirmed about 600 members of the security forces were killed.

The PKK and the state have fought for more than 30 years, leaving more than 40,000 people dead. The group is demanding autonomy and more rights for the Kurdish minority, which makes up about 15 per cent of the population.

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