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 Iran says makes new military push against Kurd PJAK rebels 

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Iran says makes new military push against Kurd PJAK rebels  3.9.2011    

September 3, 2011

TEHRAN,ó Iran has begun a new military push against Kurdish rebels on the border with Iraqi Kurdistan region, state television IRIB reported Saturday, days after Turkey said its air strikes had killed up to 160 militants inside Iraqi Kurdish territory.

Ground troops of Iran's Revolutionary Guards were carrying out the offensive after what IRIB said was a one-month grace period during Ramadan offered to the rebels to withdraw from the country's northwestern border areas.

It said heavy damage had been inflicted in the push to clear rebels from the Sardasht heights border area. Casualty numbers would be released later.

Iran said in mid-August it had killed dozens of members of the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK), which Tehran blames for sabotage attacks on gas pipelines and ambushing its troops.

Iraqi Kurdistan Regionís border areas had been targets for Iranian shelling from mid-July, under justification of chasing the Kurdish PJAK fighters,
www.ekurd.netthing that killed and injured several Iraqi Kurdish citizens and forced hundreds of families to desert their home villages, along with causing damage to those villages and farms.

Iranian shelling during a campaign against Kurdish PJAK rebels killed a shepherd and damaged farms and houses in north Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region on Saturday, local officials said.

Human Rights Watch has charged that Iran may be deliberately targeting civilians in its campaign against the rebels.

The PJAK, or the (Partiya Jiyana Azad a Kurdistane), is a militant Kurdish nationalist group based in Kurdistan region in Iraq's north that has been carrying out attacks Iranian forces in the Kurdistan Province of Iran (Eastern Kurdistan) and other Kurdish-inhabited areas.        

Iran has begun a new military push against Kurdish PJAK rebels on the border with Iraqi Kurdistan region.

Iraqi Kurd residents receive humanitarian aid from agencies after being displaced from their villages near Qandil Mountains, a border zone between Iraq and Iran, July 27, 2011. Iranian shelling in clashes with Kurdish PAJK rebels on the border with Iraq's Kurdistan region has killed two civilians and forced hundreds to flee their homes, local officials and aid agencies said on Monday. Picture taken July 27, 2011. Photo: Reuters
Since 2004 the PJAK took up arms for self-rule in Kurdistan province northwestern of Iran (Iranian Kurdistan, Eastern Kurdistan). Half the members of PJAK are women. The PJAK has about 3,000 armed militiamen.

Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey all have significant ethnic Kurdish minorities. Estimate to 12 million Kurds live in Iran. 

Neither Turkey nor Iran have given figures on civilian casualties caused by their operations against rebels in Iraq's Kurdish region. Hundreds of refugees have fled since mid-July to small camps.

Managing the PKK presence is a tricky task for Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish government with Iran to the east, Turkey to the north and to the south a fragile, power-sharing central Iraqi government with whom the Kurds still disagree about territorial and oil rights.

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