Barzani Asks PKK to Quit Iraqi Kurdistan

Barzani Asks PKK  to Quit Iraqi KurdistanBarzani Asks PKK  to Quit Iraqi Kurdistan

Iraqi Kurdish regional government called on the Kurdistan Workers' Party to "withdraw" from Iraq's Kurdish territory to prevent civilian deaths amid a campaign of Turkish airstrikes targeting the group.

A statement from the President of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region Massoud Barzani's office said the PKK "should withdraw its fighters from the Kurdish region to ensure the civilians of Kurdistan do not become victims of that fighting and conflict," France reported.

The statement also condemned Turkey for bombing civilians, following reports that civilian homes were damaged in air raids in northwestern Iraq. The statement calls on both sides to resume peace talks.

"We condemn the bombing, which led to the martyrdom of the citizens of the Kurdish region, and we call on Turkey not to repeat the bombing of civilians."

The statement also called on PKK forces to move out of the region to prevent civilian casualties. "The PKK must keep the battlefield away from the Kurdistan region in order for civilians not to become victims of this war."

Turkey launched near-simultaneous airstrikes on Islamic State militants in Syria and PKK camps in northern Iraq more than a week ago, although the campaign has focused far more on the Kurdish forces.

Turkish Soldiers Killed in Blasts

Two Turkish soldiers were killed and 31 were wounded early Sunday in a suicide bombing that ripped through their local headquarters in eastern Turkey, reports said. Turkey blamed the PKK for the attack.

A suicide bomber drove a tractor laden with explosives up to the military station in the Dogubayazit district of the eastern Agri Province, the official Anatolia news agency reported, quoting the local governor's office.

In a separate incident also blamed on the PKK, one Turkish soldier was killed and four wounded early Sunday when a mine exploded as their convoy was travelling on a road in the Midyat district of the Mardin Province in southeastern Turkey, Anatolia said.

The PKK's call for greater rights and power for Turkey's Kurdish minority has claimed tens of thousands of lives since it began more than 30 years ago. The current fighting has left a 2013 ceasefire in tatters.

In what Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called a "synchronized fight against terror," Ankara granted access of its bases to the US-led coalition battling IS, however so far the majority of Turkey's air bombardment has been on PKK targets.

The attack in Agri is believed to be the first time the PKK is accused of deploying a suicide bomber in the current phase of the conflict. So far, at least 17 members of the security forces have now been killed in attacks blamed on the PKK since the current crisis erupted last week.