The Turkish military has announced that air strikes against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) have killed a number of militants. The strikes, which took place on Thursday (10 November), were carried out in northern Iraq.

Conflicting reports cite six to eight deaths in two separate attacks around 7am and 11 am, which also destroyed weapons and vehicles belonging to the group. The strikes also killed 18 Islamic State (Isis) militants, the Turkish military claimed.

On the ground, five Turkey-backed rebels were killed alongside five Isis militants in Turkey's Euphrates Shield operation. Coalition air strikes claimed a further ten IS militants.

The PKK is a far-left organisation which is calling for an independent Kurdish state within Turkey. Its conflict with the Turkish government has been ongoing since the 1970s and many thousands have died in the conflict.

Last week, a car bomb attack outside a police station in Diyarbakir killed nine people. Isis and the PKK both claimed responsibility. Ankara blamed the PKK for the attack, which was just one of a number to hit Turkey in the last month.

In the hours leading up to the attack, a number of lawmakers from the People's Democratic Party (HDP) were arrested over alleged links to the PKK and a reluctance to testify against the group. The Turkish government has cracked down on its opposition since a failed coup in July this year.

However, this crackdown has caused tension. Following the attack last week, a number of social media platforms were blocked, which was thought to be connected to the arrest of the HDP leaders.

Later in the week, the European Commission published a report criticising Ankara's treatment of its opposition, and calling on Turkey to "safeguard its parliamentary democracy, including the respect for human rights, the rule of law, fundamental freedoms and the right of everyone to a fair trial, also in conformity with its commitments as a candidate country".

Diyarbakir cat bomb blast Turkey
Isis claimed responsibility for the car bomb attack in Diyarbakir on Friday 4 November, but the Turkish government blamed the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) for the blast Reuters