ANKARA, Turkey - Turkish jets struck yesterday at eight caves that suspected Turkish Kurd rebels were preparing to use as winter hideouts in northern Iraq, Turkey's military said.
Flying over snow-covered rugged terrain, the planes conducted "an effective pinpoint operation" against the separatist rebels of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, the military said in a statement posted on its Web site.
No rebel deaths from the strikes were immediately reported.
Inside Turkey, troops said they killed six rebels in the second day of operations on the slopes of Mount Gabar, near the Iraqi border.
The Turkish military's air strikes on the caves comprised the third cross-border air assault in 10 days. The PKK has waged a war for autonomy in parts of Turkey for more than two decades, costing tens of thousands of lives.
The Turkish military, which relies on fighter jets and artillery units to hit rebel targets miles from the border, has vowed to keep up its attacks on the rebels regardless of weather conditions in the region. In October, Turkey's parliament authorized the country's military to strike back at the rebels across the border.
The United States, the European Union and Turkey consider the PKK a terrorist organization, but the United States in particular has been concerned that Turkish operations affecting northern Iraq could destabilize one of the war-torn country's most stable areas.
President Abdullah Gul yesterday said Turkey was pleased with U.S. cooperation, including the sharing of intelligence. "It is a cooperation that befits the allies," he was quoted as saying by the state-run media.
But Gul also appeared to reproach the fact that the cooperation started recently. Turkey, a NATO ally, long complained of U.S. inaction against the Iraq-based rebels.
"It's how it should have been," Gul said. "We could have arrived at this point much earlier."
On Tuesday, Turkey's military said that more than 200 Kurdish rebel targets in northern Iraq had been hit since Dec. 16, killing hundreds of rebels.
The rebels traditionally withdraw to their hideouts during winter when snow hampers their movement in the mountains, then intensify their attacks on Turkish targets in the spring.