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60 Die In Turkey Clashes

October 14, 1998

VAN, Turkey (AP) _ Turkish troops have killed 42 Kurdish rebels near this southeastern city in clashes over the past two days, the Anatolia news agency reported today.

Two soldiers and 14 village guards helping troops fight the Kurdish insurgents were also killed in the clashes, it said. The area lies 780 miles southeast of Ankara, the capital.

Five other rebels were killed in separate clashes in the southeastern provinces of Diyarbakir and Hakkari, Anatolia said.

Military officials were not available to comment.

The Kurdish guerrillas, who have been fighting for autonomy in Turkey’s southeast since 1984, have been a source of tension between Syria and Turkey, which accuses Damascus of sheltering and supporting them.

The rebels sneak into Turkey from their bases in Syria, Iran and Iraq to launch attacks on Turkish targets.

The conflict has claimed the lives of 37,000 people so far.

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