Iranian forces launched an artillery barrage on armed rebels in a northwestern border area on Saturday, a day after three Iranian border guards were killed in the remote region where the borders of Iran, Iraq and Turkey meet, according to Reuters news agency. These three men were killed after a clash with alleged terrorists who tried to infiltrate the Iranian province of Western Azerbaijan from the neighbouring Turkish territory.
Thus, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (elite corps of the Persian Army) attacked with artillery positions of "counter-revolutionary elements" on the north-western border of the country, where clashes with Kurdish groups are frequent. The Revolutionary Guards said its ground forces targeted positions of “counter-revolutionary terrorist groups on the other side of the northwestern borders of our country”, inflicting heavy losses and casualties, Iran’s state news agency IRNA reported.
Clashes with Iranian Kurdish militant groups are common in the area and Iran occasionally shells northern Iraq, where it says rebel fighters take shelter.
In this border area, both with Turkey and Iraq, there is a large presence of Kurdish groups, including Iranians who oppose the Tehran government, which Iran has even attacked in its own refuge on Iraqi territory. Kurds are also being persecuted by Turkey because the Kurdistan Labourers' Party is being pointed out as a terrorist organisation by the government led by Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
According to a statement of the Revolutionary Guard Force published on Sunday, the attack was carried out on the other side of the border and caused deaths and injuries in the ranks of these counter-revolutionary groups. The Iranian elite military corps stressed that "national security and peace for the Iranian people, especially in the border areas, are a red line for the Armed Forces".
According to the official note, the Revolutionary Guard ground forces will respond "quickly and without consideration" to any threat.
In mid-September, the Revolutionary Guard destroyed a large number of positions of these armed groups in the region of Iraqi Kurdistan and the borders with Turkey. Also in July 2019, the elite division of the Iranian Armed Forces carried out intense bombings with missiles and unmanned planes against positions of "terrorist groups" on the border with Iraqi Kurdistan, where the Iranian Kurdish separatist movement has its bases. The Kurds are the most numerous ethnic minority without a state of their own, consisting of 30 million people mainly in Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria.