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Iraq Kurdistan PKK Camp

20 Feb 2004....Qandil Mountains, Kurdistan/Iraq.....PKK Camp...The PKK reached a peak of notoriety during the decade from mid 80s-mid 90's. During this period they were involved a series of high profile bomb attacks and kidnappings.....The Leader and President of the PKK, Abdullah Ocalan is currently imprisoned on a small island off the Turkish mainland.....His followers believe that he can lead the Kurds to freedom and independence. In the light of this it is unlikely that the Turkish Government will ever allow him to be released.....The PKK winter camps are high in the snow covered Qandil mountains. The mountain range falls within what is international recognised as Iraq. The Kurds call the area Southern Kurdistan.....Most of the PKK fighters living in the camps are from Turkey. Many of them have lived in the mountains for more than half their lives.....The Turkish Government did offer a programe of repatriation to the PKK but few of the fighters felt it avantageous...They chose instead to remain living in the harsh mountian enviroment prepared to fight for their people.....The PKK is at this time in what they describe as a 'Position of Legitimate Defense'. They claim not to be involved in any military action but will defend them selves if attacked.....Photo: In wintertime the PKK camps can become unreachable due to heavy snowfall. The fighters leave some of the higher camps until springtime. The guerrillas are used to travelling across this rugged terrain often carrying loaded packs. They do have mules to help carry supplies between camps.

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IRQ-040220-JPH-PS058.jpg
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(c) Jason P. Howe 2004
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20 Feb 2004....Qandil Mountains, Kurdistan/Iraq.....PKK Camp...The PKK reached a peak of notoriety during the decade from mid 80s-mid 90's. During this period they were involved a series of high profile bomb attacks and kidnappings.....The Leader and President of the PKK, Abdullah Ocalan is currently imprisoned on a small island off the Turkish mainland.....His followers believe that he can lead the Kurds to freedom and independence. In the light of this it is unlikely that the Turkish Government will ever allow him to be released.....The PKK winter camps are high in the snow covered Qandil mountains. The mountain range falls within what is international recognised as Iraq. The Kurds call the area Southern Kurdistan.....Most of the PKK fighters living in the camps are from Turkey. Many of them have lived in the mountains for more than half their lives.....The Turkish Government did offer a programe of repatriation to the PKK but few of the fighters felt it avantageous...They chose instead to remain living in the harsh mountian enviroment prepared to fight for their people.....The PKK is at this time in what they describe as a 'Position of Legitimate Defense'. They claim not to be involved in any military action but will defend them selves if attacked.....Photo: In wintertime the PKK camps can become unreachable due to heavy snowfall. The fighters leave some of the higher camps until springtime. The guerrillas are used to travelling across this rugged terrain often carrying loaded packs. They do have mules to help carry supplies between camps.