UPDATE: Foiled spy plot strains Turkey-KRG relations

PKK abducts four Turkish agents in Sulaimaniya who were allegedly targeting the group's leader, elevating tensions ahead of the KRG's controversial independence referendum.
UPDATE: Foiled spy plot strains Turkey-KRG relations
Kurdish guerrilla fighter of the PKK in the Qandil Mountains of northern Iraq. For decades, the PKK has been in armed conflict with the Turkish government over Kurdish rights and identity in Turkey. (DANIEL SMITH/Iraq Oil Report)

UPDATE: This story has been updated to include comment and perspective from a Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC) official, who disputed some key allegations by PUK officials about the spy maneuvers that led to the abduction of the Turkish agents.

SULAIMANIYA - The Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) has captured four Turkish intelligence operatives in Sulaimaniya after they allegedly attempted to arrest or assassinate a top leader of the Kurdish guerrilla group.

The incident is putting an acute strain on relations between Iraqi Kurds and the Turkish government at a critical moment. Ankara has already expressed opposition to a Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) independence referendum scheduled for Sept. 25, largely for fear that it would bolster Kurdish separatists like the PKK in Turkey.

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