Europe

Turkey security forces kill 23 PKK militants in Cizre

Turkish security forces Image copyright HDP English
Image caption Up to 10,000 soldiers and policemen have been deployed in Cizre and Silopi

Security forces in Turkey have killed 23 suspected members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in two days of operations in Cizre and Silopi, authorities say.

Twenty-two were killed in Cizre while one was killed in Silopi, state-run Anatolia news agency said.

Curfews have been imposed and tanks deployed in some areas.

Cizre was placed under curfew in September, with Turkey describing the town as a hotbed of PKK activity.

Up to 10,000 police and army members have been deployed in the two towns, in south-east Turkey, since operations began earlier this week.

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PKK supporters have erected barricades and dug trenches, reports say.

Residents have been urged to leave their homes, with Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu saying operations would continue until "every home is cleared" of militants.

Image copyright Cizre resident
Image caption Residents say police and soldiers have occupied Cizre's hospital
Image copyright Cizre resident
Image caption The town's streets have been deserted

Hatice Kamer, BBC News, in Diyarbakir

Conditions for families in Silopi and Cizre are hard.

Semsettin, 45, said his family in Silopi woke up on Wednesday to the sound of gunfire and went down to their basement to hide.

As their house is the only one in the area with a basement, 25 neighbours have joined them in the 3-4 sq m room.

"There is no electricity, it's cold and the children are suffering. There is no baby food or milk," he says.

The violence has prompted around 3,000 teachers and a large number of doctors to leave the area and a trade union representative in Silopi told me that deserted schools had been turned into barracks.

Some residents say they don't want to leave but they fear that continuing operations and curfews will force them to go.


Some government supporters and Turkish nationalists say the operations are needed to prevent the PKK youth from taking over the towns, with some accusing civilians who stay behind of either being, or harbouring, terrorists.

Turkey has seen a string of curfews in the past few months after a two-year ceasefire collapsed in July.

Hundreds have been killed in attacks from both sides since then, with the PKK targeting Turkish security forces and Turkey's military bombing PKK positions, cutting off towns in the south-east. Around 200,000 people have been displaced.

On Monday, two protesters died in a clash between police and Kurdish demonstrators over a curfew imposed in Diyarbakir.

The city was placed under curfew in November after a pro-Kurdish lawyer, Tahir Elci, was shot dead in a fight between police and unidentified gunmen. Two policemen also died.

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