US forces raid Kurdish refugee camp in northern Iraq


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January 17, 2007 US forces raid Kurdish refugee camp in northern Iraq

German Press Agency

Ankara- US troops in Iraq on Wednesday raided a refugee camp housing Turkish Kurds in northern Iraq, Turkish news agencies reported. Abdurrahman Belaf Berzenci, the elected leader of the 10,000 refugees at the Mahmur refugee camp, told the Dogan news agency that US forces moved into the camp Wednesday morning and went from dwelling to dwelling checking identity cards.

Berzenci said that there were no violent incidents during the day.

The Mahmur refugee camp was established in 1992 by Turkish Kurds fleeing from fighting inside Turkey between the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) and the Turkish security forces.

Turkey has repeatedly called on the camp to be closed down, claiming that it harboured PKK fighters, was a base for the spreading of separatist propaganda and provided a recruiting pool for the PKK.

In recent months Turkey has repeatedly asked the United States to move against PKK camps in northern Iraq but the US authorities have refused to act, saying their forces in Iraq are already stretched.

More than 32,000 people have been killed since the PKK began its fight in the early 1980s for independence or autonomy for the mainly Kurdish-populated south-east of Turkey.

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