Turkish Military Kills 110 Kurdish Militants

Turkish Military Kills 110 Kurdish MilitantsTurkish Military Kills 110 Kurdish Militants

Armed clashes persisted on Sunday across Turkey’s southeast, where an operation by Turkish forces intensified on the sixth day of a campaign that security sources said had resulted in the death of 110 Kurds.

Protests erupted in Istanbul and in Diyarbakir, the biggest city in the country’s southeast, with hundreds demonstrating against the military operations. Police fired tear gas and plastic bullets to disperse the crowds. Most of the fighting took place in Cizre and Silopi, towns near the Iraqi and Syrian borders that have been under curfew for almost a week. Nusaybin and Dargecit in the border province of Mardin and the historical Sur district of Diyarbakir have also seen fierce battles, Reuters reported.

Although rooted in the countryside, militants of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party have shifted focus in recent years to towns and cities in the southeast, digging trenches and setting up barricades in streets to keep security forces away.

Security sources and residents said around 300 houses in Cizre had been damaged by the clashes and undetonated mortar shells lay inside buildings. Electricity was cut in many neighborhoods in Silopi as power transformers were damaged. Food and drinking water were running scarce, residents said.

A two-year ceasefire between Turkey and the PKK fell apart in July, shattering peace talks and reviving a conflict that has ravaged the mainly Kurdish southeast for three decades.

The latest security operations, which media reports said were being conducted with 10,000 police and troops backed by tanks, were the largest since the end of the ceasefire.

The PKK, which launched its insurgency in 1984, is designated as a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.