More Iranian troops are heading towards the town of Saqqez in the north western Iran after four days of fierce fighting between Kurds and government forces.
GVs Iranian soldiers on outskirts of Kurdish city Saqqez, in firing positions (3 shots)
GVs Kurds behind sandbag. Gunfire
GV AND SVs Street scenes with gunfire. Aircraft drops flare (4 shots)
GV AND SVs Damaged buildings and bomb craters (4 shots)
SV Dead Kurds
GV Blown up ambulance in road
GV Tracking shot past crowds outside hospital into building (2 shots)
SVs INTERIOR Wounded civilians including woman and young boy (3 shots)
GV Kurdish forces walking through street. Gunfire continues
GV Jeep with heavy machine gun firing drives down street
GV Smoke and gunfire over the town
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Background: More Iranian troops are heading towards the town of Saqqez in the north western Iran after four days of fierce fighting between Kurds and government forces. At least one hundred people are reported to have been killed in Saqqez since Saturday (19 April).
SYNOPSIS: The army moved in, according to the government, because of the presence of subversive elements, including spies. since Saturday (19 April) they have been trying to regain control of strategic points, including a bridge and a satellite ground station, from the Kurdish forces. Reinforcements were needed in the area when the army ran into considerable resistance not only at Saqqez but also at the provincial capital of Sanandaj and at Qorveh.
The Kurds claim that government forces are trying to re-establish their dominance in a region which has been run by Kurds since troops were pulled out earlier this year. The autonomy-seeking Kurds had reached an uneasy truce with the central government after years of fighting against the deposed Shah's regime. But now the Kurds say Iran's revolutionary regime is pursuing the same anti-Kurdish policies as the former Shah.
A Kurdish spokesman said that the army warned people in Saqqez to leave the town and hundreds have fled. Saqqez has suffered badly from heavy artillery bombardment. Dozens of buildings have been destroyed and there are many bomb craters in the streets.
The exact number of dead and injured Kurds is not known. But with the local hospital overcrowded the Kurdish Society in Teheran had issued an appeal for a cease-fire and for urgent medical supplied. The Society says the plea to the International red Cross and the International Court of Human Rights, was written by Kurds living in Saqqez.
The appeal urges the relief agencies to press the Iranian government for a ceasefire. The Kurds say that without urgent medical supplied many of their wounded in hospitals like Saqqez will not live. Some of the wounded civilians are very young. The Kurds say their repeated appeals for a ceasefire have been ignored by the central government. Mean-while more civilians are brought in to the hospital as the Kurds battle against troops, backed by helicopters, gunships and heavy artillery.
The fiercely independent Kurds have also been involved in bitter fighting elsewhere in the region. The army says 20 soldiers were killed and another 36 injured in Friday (18 April) when an Iranian army column skirting the provincial capital of Sanandaj were attacked by Kurdish forces. The government claims to have killed 320 Kurds in four days of fighting in the regions. Two revolutionary guards were also killed and seven injured in a battle in the town of Qorveh, east of Sanandaj.