Six Turkish soldiers, 20 Kurdish rebels killed in clashes: Source

ANKARA - Six Turkish soldiers and about 20 Kurdish rebels have been killed in several days of clashes in eastern and southeastern Turkey, a security source said Sunday.

The fighting erupted despite a pledge by the rebel Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) to suspend all offensive actions ahead of Turkey's snap elections next month.

Four soldiers were killed in several days of intense battles, some involving helicopters, in the mountainous Daglica region near theIraqi border, the source said, while about 20 rebels died.

Another two soldiers were killed on Sunday when rebels set off a remote-controlled mine targeting an army vehicle in the eastern province of Tunceli, the Anatolia news agency said. Two soldiers were also wounded.

The PKK pledge was seen as an attempt to help the pro-Kurdish People's Democracy Party (HDP) boost its score in the polls on November 1.

Since late July, Kurdish fighters had staged almost daily attacks against members of the security forces, shattering a two-year truce and killing more than 150 Turkish police and soldiers.

The government claims to have killed more than 1,700 Kurdish militants in a relentless bombing campaign.

More than 40,000 people have been killed since the PKK took up arms in 1984 demanding an independent state for Kurds.

Since then the group has narrowed its demands to greater autonomy and cultural rights.

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