of people have fled the mainly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir, located in
southeastern Turkey, as authorities have extended the curfew there
after 23 people were killed in street battles, including three
Turkish soldiers and 20 Kurdish fighters.
gunfire continued on Wednesday in the ancient Sur district of
Diyarbakir amid clashes between authorities and militants said to be
members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been
outlawed by Ankara, Turkish Dogan news agency reported.
Turkish soldiers were killed in Sur when militants fired on them with
rifles and a rocket launcher, Reuters cited security sources as
army also confirmed that it had killed 11 alleged PKK in the town of
Cizre near the Syrian border, and nine others in Sur on Tuesday. The
Turkish army claims it has killed 134 Kurdish fighters in the ancient
Sur district since December. The district has also witnessed severe
damage since then.
24-hour curfew zone has been extended to five more districts in
Diyarbakir, according to the district governor’s office. The curfew
bans residents from leaving their homes and forbids observers and
reporters from entering the areas when clashes are taking place.
alleged members of PKK reportedly dug trenches and set up explosive
devices, the curfew was put in place to“restore
public order,” the
district governor’s office said.
media reports estimate that more than 2,000 people left Sur following
the fighting on Wednesday. People were seen fleeing with suitcases,
bags, and bedding.
state early in the morning started to warn people that they have to
leave their houses. And right now thousands of people are trying to
leave Sur district, the ancient part of the city,” Harun
Ercan, a Diyarbakir resident, told RT.
armed conflict continues to create new tragedies and these people
don’t know what to do. While these operations continue, gross human
rights violations are committed by Turkey’s security forces,” Ercan
authorities have introduced curfews in several Kurdish-majority towns
since the peace process with the PKK collapsed in the summer of 2015.
the Turkish Human Rights Foundation reported that at least 198
civilians, including 39 children, have been killed in military
operations in the area since August.
have long been campaigning for the right to self-determination and
greater autonomy in Turkey, where they are the largest ethnic
minority. In late December, a congress of Kurdish nongovernmental
organizations called for Turkey’s southeastern regions to be
granted autonomy via constitutional reforms.
security forces launched a large-scale security operation in
southeastern part of the country on December 14.
Rights Watch criticized the curfews, stating that they make it
impossible to monitor causes of deaths. “Many
people have died in circumstances which are extremely difficult to
scrutinize because of the curfews,” The
Guardian quoted Emma Sinclair-Webb, a senior researcher for Human
Rights Watch, as saying.