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Kurdish rebels announce forces' retreat from Turkey as part of peace efforts

A pro-Kurdish news agency is quoting a Kurdish rebel commander as saying his group will begin withdrawing thousands of its guerrilla fighters from Turkey on May 5.

The Firat news agency says rebel commander Murat Karayilan made the announcement Thursday at a news conference in northern Iraq, where the Kurdistan Workers' Party's leadership is based.

The announcement is an important milestone toward ending the nearly three-decade-old insurgency in Turkey's southeast, which has cost tens of thousands of lives since 1984.