A Kurdish rebel group has declared a nine-day holiday cease-fire in their fight against Turkey, a spokesman said, calling it a "first step toward peace."
The unilateral cease-fire declared yesterday begins today as the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha gets under way, according to Ahmed Deniz, a spokesman for the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK.
He said the group's military and political leadership would like to resolve its conflict with Turkey peacefully.
"The military and political leadership of the PKK announces a nine-day, unilateral cease-fire ... Which is considered a first step toward peace," Deniz told The Associated Press.
Turkey has ignored a series of PKK cease-fire declarations, vowing to fight until all militants are killed or surrender.
The rebels, based in the mountains of northern Iraq, are fighting for autonomy in the predominantly Kurdish-inhabited southeast Turkey. The fight has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people since 1984.
This year, Turkey launched several air strikes, including one on Friday, and one major ground operation against rebel bases across Iraq's border.
Eid al-Adha, an important Muslim holiday, lasts four days, but Deniz said the cease-fire would continue for nine days.