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22 Feb, 2008 12:47

Turkish troops pursue Kurdish guerillas into northern Iraq

Turkey has launched a cross-border ground offensive in northern Iraq. Up to 10,000 troops backed by the Air Force entered the country overnight in pursuit of Kurdish guerillas.

Turkey claims the Kurdistan Workers Party rebels, or PKK, are using Iraq as a sheltered base to launch attacks.  

Two brigades are already in action, but sources quoted by Reuters news agency suggest thousands more troops stationed on the border could join the offensive.

Rebels say they have already clashed with Turkish soldiers, leaving two dead and eight wounded.

Meanwhile, Turkey's ally, the United States, has responded negatively to the incursion but has not condemned the operation.  

RT military analyst Evgeny Khruschev believes that Turkey was encouraged by Kosovo’s secession

“It’s got a free rein from its key NATO ally, the United States. This particular timing is a perfect example of the double standards on behalf of both the U.S. and Turkey, because Turkey recognised the so-called independence, de jure secession of Kosovo and, at the same time, they claim they're concerned about the separatism movement of the PKK in Iraq,” Khruschev said.