PKK commander says rebels to heed leader's call for cease-fire, retreat from Turkey

A Kurdish rebel commander is quoted as saying that rebel fighters will heed a call for a cease-fire and their retreat from Turkey, as part of efforts to end a nearly 30-year-old conflict.

Imprisoned rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan, who is engaged in talks with Turkish officials, called on the fighters to cease hostilities in a message Thursday that coincided with a Kurdish spring festival.

Pro-Kurdish Firat news agency quoted rebel commander Murat Karayilan as saying late Thursday that fighters of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, would "put into practice" terms of the peace process. He did not provide a timetable.

Karayilan has been leading the PKK from bases in northern Iraq since Ocalan's capture in 1999. The conflict has killed tens of thousands since 1984.