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Two Iranian Border Guards Killed On Border With Turkey

The funeral of two Iranian Border Guards killed in a clash with an unknown armed group. Urmia May 28, 2016.

After two Iranian border guards were killed on Saturday, May 27, on the Turkish border, the commander of Iran's border troops has held Turkey responsible and has vowed to respond decisively to "terrorist activities".

The official news agency IRNA reported that late Saturday there was a gun battle near Urmia and two Iranian border guards were killed and others wounded.

Iranian news agencies or military officials have not said who the armed elements involved in the clash were. In one report outlaws are mentioned and in another report terrorists are said to have been responsible.

Kurdistan Media, a website connected with the the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan, says that "unknown armed elements" were involved.

In the past there have been clashes between Iranian police or military and armed Kurdish opposition groups in the area. Urmia has a substantial Kurdish population close to Iran's western borders, and adjacent to other Kurdish populated areas.

Revolutionary Guard general and commander of border troops, Ghassem Rezai, has said that Iranian border guards on patrol came across armed elements and a gun battle started, leaving two guards dead and a number of others wounded. The general and other Iranian sources have not said anything about possible casualties among the unknown armed group.

Iran has a 550 kilometer border with Turkey, 150 of which lies within the Urmia area. The Kurdish Workers' Party, PKK, which is active on the Kurdish side of the border has close ties with some Iranian armed Kurdish groups.

There is also smuggling activities in the area and Iranian police and border guards often have clashes with smugglers.