A firefight between Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards and Kurdish militants in western Iran left five Kurdish militants dead, Iran’s state TV reported on Monday. The TV said the five were members of the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan, or PJAK, which is the Iranian wing of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, in Turkey.
It said the Revolutionary Guards ambushed the Kurds in northwestern Sardasht area but didn’t elaborate as to when the shootout happened or provide more details. Weapons and ammunition were confiscated from the five at the site of the clash, the TV said. Separately, Iran’s official IRNA news agency reported a clash in the country’s restive Sistan-Baluchistan province near the border with Pakistan, saying Iranian security forces killed five members of the Jaish al-Adl group there on Monday.
Tehran has branded the group a terrorist organization. An Iranian police officer was also killed in the clash, Gen. Hossein Rahimi, the province’s chief of police was quoted by IRNA as saying. Sistan-Baluchistan, the site of frequent clashes with drug traffickers, lies on a major transit route for opium and heroin being smuggled from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
A little over a month ago, Kurdish fighters engaged the IRGC with the IRGC suffering the greatest loss of life in the firefight. Does this signal an increase of fighting between the IRGC and the Kurds or is it just skirmishes between the two? Sound off in the comments below!