Kurdish rebels to start retreating from Turkey

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Associated Press

Posted on May 7, 2013 at 7:30 AM

Updated Tuesday, May 7 at 7:33 AM

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Kurdish rebels have confirmed that they will start withdrawing forces from Turkey to bases in northern Iraq on Wednesday.

The Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, declared a cease-fire in March and promised to pull fighters out of Turkey as part of peace talks aimed at ending a nearly three-decade-old conflict that has killed tens of thousands of people. The group has been fighting Turkey for autonomy.

A rebel statement said Tuesday that a first group of fighters will leave Turkey on Wednesday and be settled in bases in northern Iraq within a week.

Both Turkey and the PKK have said the withdrawal will take place quietly and without fanfare.

Selahattin Demirtas, leader of a pro-Kurdish political party, said the full withdrawal of forces could take three to four months.

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