Turkish forces say scores of PKK fighters killed

Military says it killed at least 62 fighters in three days of clashes near the Turkish-Iraq border region.

Fighting between the PKK and the Turkish army resumed in July after attempts at a peace deal [Reuters]
Fighting between the PKK and the Turkish army resumed in July after attempts at a peace deal [Reuters]

Turkey’s security forces have killed 62 PKK fighters in three days of operations in two mainly Kurdish towns near the border with Iraq, according to the military.

One Turkish soldier was killed in the fighting according to the army statement on Friday, the latest deaths since the resumption of fighting between the Kurdish armed group and the government in July.

The government has imposed 24-hour curfews in the towns of Cizre and Silopi, allowing troops and police, backed by tanks and armoured vehicles, to battle the PKK, who have moved their fight for autonomy to some towns and city neighbourhoods.

The government says the PKK, Kurdistan Workers’ Party, fighters have placed explosive devices, dug trenches and set up barricades in Cizre and Silopi.

Kurdish group claims deadly attack on Turkish troops

It has pledged to press ahead with the operations until no armed rebel remains in the two towns.

Unconfirmed reports have said that thousands of troops have been deployed.

A military statement on Friday said 56 PKK fighters were killed in Cizre and six died in fighting in Silopi since Tuesday.

The soldier was killed in a battle in Cizre.

At least eight security force members were wounded, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

Al Jazeera could not independently confirm the Turkish military’s account.

Turkey’s pro-Kurdish People’s Democracy Party says at least 63 civilians have been killed by security forces’ operations during curfews that have been enforced in 17 locations since August.

The European human rights body, the Council of Europe, has expressed concern over the curfews that bar residents from leaving homes and prevent observers or journalists from monitoring conditions.

Turkey says the curfews aim to prevent civilian deaths.

Fighting between the government forces and the PKK flared up in July, killing hundreds of people and shattering a fragile peace process with the fighters.

Meanwhile in Diyarbakir, Turkish police fired water cannon and tear gas to break up a crowd of several thousand people protesting against security operations targeting Kurdish armed groups.

People scattered into side streets as the intervention began, coinciding with a news conference in the city where pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-leader Selahattin Demirtas had called for “resistance” against the operations. 

Source: Al Jazeera, AP


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