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Turkey: 22 Kurd rebels killed

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  • Turkey: 22 Kurdish rebels killed in recent clashes in southeastern Turkey
  • Military says the clashes occurred in Sirnak province
  • Rebels have been fighting for two decades for autonomy
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(CNN) -- The Turkish military said it has killed 22 Kurdish rebels in a military operation in the country's turbulent southeastern region.

Turkish tanks on the move earlier this year in southeastern Turkey.

The military, in a statement, said it conducted an operation in the mountains of Sirnak province from Friday through Monday.

Turkey's military says the rebels were believed to be gearing up to mount an attack.

One of those killed, the military said, was a senior member of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or the PKK -- a Kurdish separatist group regarded as a terror organization by Turkey.

Turkey has been taking cross-border military action, including airstrikes and artillery shelling, against the PKK in retaliation to attacks by the group on targets in Turkey from bases in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq.

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The PKK has spent two decades fighting for autonomy for Kurds in southeastern Turkey.

Turkey has also been carrying out small ground operations into Iraq, forays characterized as "hot pursuit" incursions with a few hundred commandos responding to a particular threat.

All About Kurdish PoliticsKurdistan Workers' PartyTurkey

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