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Kurdish rebels reportedly killed in Turkey airstrikes

  • Story Highlights
  • Turkish military: 19 Kurdish rebels killed after airstrikes on Friday
  • Airstrikes come after two Turkish soldiers were killed by rebels in Hakkari province
  • Rebels seek independent Kurdish homeland in southeast Turkey
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ISTANBUL, Turkey (CNN) -- The Turkish military launched airstrikes on Kurdish rebel positions in southeastern Turkey on Friday evening, killing 19 rebels, the military said.

The strikes followed a rebel attack on a military outpost in Hakkari province in which two Turkish soldiers were killed, according to the military's Web site.

Turkey has been staging military attacks against rebels with the PKK, or Kurdistan Workers' Party, in Turkey and in northern Iraq.

The PKK is a leftist insurgent group that formed in 1984 to fight for an independent Kurdish homeland in southeast Turkey.

It also has advocated a greater Kurdish homeland that would encompass parts of several countries, including northern Iraq and Iran.

The group waged a guerrilla war that killed about 35,000 people. It has more recently claimed to fight for greater rights for Kurds who live in Turkey, according to the U.S. government.

Aylin Yazan with CNN Turkey contributed to this story.

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