Turkey announces end of military operations in Kurdish district, reports death of 271 PKK fighters

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Riot police use a water cannon to disperse Kurdish demonstrators during a protest against the curfew in Sur district, in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir, Turkey. © Sertac Kayar/Reuters

ARA News

URFA – Turkish authorities announced on Wednesday the end of military operations in the Kurdish Sur district of Diyarbakir (Amed), southeastern the country, where a 24-hour curfew has been imposed for more than three months. 

“The military operations in the district ended at 16:00 pm on Wednesday, while curfew is ongoing since the 2nd of December last year,” Chief of staff of the Turkish army said in a statement on Wednesday.

“The army operations led to the death of 271 rebels from the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) compared to 71 of the Turkish police and security forces,” he said. 

Additionally, the Turkish Interior Minister, Efkan Ala, said in press statements that the military operations lasted for 103 days, during which 354 bombs have been dismantled and 243 trenches piled in the Kurdish-majority district of Sur. 

On November 28, 2015, Turkish military operations started in the town of Sur against the PKK rebel fighters, claiming the lives of dozens of civilians and the displacement of thousands others.

Noteworthy, violence has raged in Turkey’s Kurdish region since July subsequent to the collapse of peace talks–aimed at ending a three-decade conflict in the country.

Cizre Under Fire   

In the meantime, clashes continued between the Turkish army and the Kurdish fighters in the southeastern Şırnak province. 

The town of Cizre, located in the southeastern province of Şırnak, has been under army siege for nearly three months, while a 24-hour curfew has been imposed by the authorities. The artillery shelling by the army forces repeatedly hit residential neighborhoods in the town, causing the death of over 80 civilians and the injury of dozens more. 

Although the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claims its military campaign on the Kurdish region is aimed at combatting rebels of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), monitoring groups and human rights activists accused the army of targeting civilians.

“Under the pretext of combatting PKK members, the Turkish authorities are bombing infrastructures and residential neighborhoods across Şırnak and Diyarbakir,” said Hoshin Ebdullah, a Kurdish lawyer and human rights activist. 

He added that civilians stranded in Kurdish areas under the ongoing military campaign suffer a sharp shortage of food and medicines, beside constant cut of electricity and water. 

“Dozens of civilians have been killed, hundreds injured and tens of thousands displaced due to the brutal operations by the Turkish forces southeastern the country,” Ebdullah told ARA News in an earlier interview. “More than 100,000 displaced people have been documented in two months, while many others remain stranded in war-torn towns and villages in the Kurdish region.”

Speaking to ARA News in the war-torn town of Cizre in Şırnak province, civil rights activist Ehmed Hokenek said: “The Turkish army avoids mentioning the civilian casualties in its brutal campaign against the Kurdish region.”

“We hope that the international community would ever take action and stop this brutal military campaign against the Kurds in Turkey,” he said.

Reporting by: Jan Nasro

Source: ARA News

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