Turkey is withdrawing some troops and tanks from northern Iraq, where they have been waging a punishing three-week offensive against Turkish Kurdish rebels, Kurdish media said Thursday.
Turkey launched the offensive to drive rebels of the Kurdistan Workers Party from positions in northern Iraq, which they use to launch hit-and-run attacks on Turkey. About 16,000 Turkish troops are taking part in the offensive.
The London-based Kurdish television Med-TV reported Thursday that a small number of units had been pulled out of two areas close to the border, where fierce clashes had taken place recently.
The Germany-based Kurdish News Agency said the units had been redeployed inside Turkey, about three miles from the border.
It was not clear if they were disengaging from fighting or merely changing positions. No other details were available and military officials could not be reached for comment.
Turkey claims to have killed 538 guerrillas since the offensive began. Only six soldiers were reported killed, and the rebels put Turkish casualties at more 40.
The Turkish Kurds are fighting for greater autonomy in eastern Turkey.
Turkey’s cross-border campaigns have become frequent in the last two years. Turkey only recently withdrew some of its troops following its last major offensive in May, retaining some 8,000 soldiers in the region.
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