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Two Turkish soldiers killed in operations in northern Iraq

The latest deaths bring to eight the number of Turkish troops killed in the past week
The coffins of three Turkish military personnel killed during clashes with Kurdish militants in Iraq's are carried during funeral prays at the Ahmet Hamdi Akseki Mosque in Ankara on 12 February 2021 (AFP)
The coffins of three Turkish military personnel killed during clashes with Kurdish groups in Iraq pictured at the Ahmet Hamdi Akseki Mosque in Ankara on 12 February 2021 (AFP)

Two Turkish soldiers have been killed in northern Iraq, according to Turkey's defence ministry, bringing to eight the number of troops killed during operations against Kurdish groups in the region in the past week.

One soldier succumbed to wounds sustained during fighting on Friday, while the other one was killed on Saturday when an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded, the official Anadolu news agency reported.

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Turkey has conducted several operations against Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) fighters in Iraq and Syria, the most recent of which was launched in April in northern Iraq.

Last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Turkey would launch a new military operation across its southern borders with Syria to create a a 30-kilometre "security zone". 

The PKK, which has training camps and bases in autonomous Iraq Kurdistan, has fought an armed struggle with the Turkish state since 1984, first for a Kurdish independent state and later for an autonomous region.

Turkey, the US and EU all designate the PKK as a terrorist organisation.

"We are fighting against terrorists in northern Syria and we will continue until they are rooted out,"  Erdogan said on Sunday, as he marked the 569th anniversary of the Ottoman conquest of Istanbul.

The operation will be the fourth of its kind in northern Syria, conducted with the declared purpose of combatting threats to Turkey from the Islamic State group, the PKK and its allied Syrian Kurdish groups, as well as enabling the resettlement of internally displaced Syrians.

Turkey's interior ministry said on Saturday that security forces have also launched a counterterrorism operation in its eastern region.