Saturday, 3 October 2015

Turkey kills 17 PKK rebels in new curfew operation


Turkish authorities on Friday imposed a curfew in the mainly Kurdish southeastern town of Silvan, saying 17 suspected Kurdish militants had already been killed hours after the military lockdown was enforced.

The measure came into effect at 0400 GMT after security forces launched a major operation against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) rebels late Thursday, the state-run Anatolia news agency said.
The militants had erected barricades and dug trenches, it said.
A total of 17 PKK militants have so far been “rendered ineffective” in the ongoing operation backed by tanks and helicopters, Anatolia added.
The rebels were still attacking security forces with long-range rifles, it said.
The curfew came after the military said two Turkish soldiers had been shot dead Thursday by Kurdish militants in Silvan as they left for work.
The Turkish government launched a major campaign against the PKK in late July, aimed at forcing it out of strongholds in southeastern Turkey and northern Iraq.
The group has hit back hard, killing dozens of police and soldiers in almost daily bomb and shooting attacks.
More than 150 soldiers and police have been killed in attacks since July blamed on the PKK.
The government, for its part, claims to have killed more than a thousand rebels - figures that have been treated with scepticism in the independent media.
Turkish authorities in September enforced a controversial nine-day curfew in the mainly Kurdish southeastern city of Cizre, which according to activists left two dozen Kurdish civilians dead.
The Turkish government said that up to 32 PKK rebels were killed during the Cizre curfew.
The renewed violence shattered a two-year ceasefire which had stoked hopes of an end to the PKK’s three-decade insurgency, in which more than 40,000 people have died.
Meanwhile in Istanbul, police detained 44 people, including district officials of the pro-Kurdish Peoples Democratic Party (HDP), which the government accuses of being a front for the PKK - a charge denied by the party’s leadership.
Police have detained scores of HDP officials, including district mayors in the southeast, on allegations they had called for regional “self-rule”.
The escalation comes ahead of snap general election on November 1.

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