Major operation targeting PKK continues in Turkey’s southeast
AA photoA major operation that was launched against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the Lice district of the southeastern province of Diyarbakır has been continuing with the participation of some 7,000 soldiers, special forces police officers and village guards.
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, along with Turkish police chief Selami Altınok and Gendarmerie Commander Gen. Yaşar Güler, visited Lice in order to obtain information about the operation.
Some 19 PKK militants were killed in the operation that started on March 5, government sources said.
Soylu, Altınok and Güler arrived in the province late on March 8 and visited the headquarters where the operation is being coordinated.
A number of other high-level officials participated in the meeting, including Diyarbakır Gov. Hüseyin Aksoy and Chief Public Prosecutor Kamil Erkut Güre.
According to statements released by the governors’ offices in Diyarbakır and the eastern province of Bingöl, a total of 19 PKK militants have been killed in the operations since March 5.
The Diyarbakır Governor’s Office said four militants were killed in clashes on March 8 in the Lice district, bringing the total number of militants killed in Lice to eight.
An M-16 infantry rifle, three Kalashnikov infantry rifles and a glock weapon were seized as a part of the operation, which aims to “neutralize” PKK militants and sympathizers and destroy the PKK’s drug production operations in the area.
Turkish authorities use the word “neutralized” to refer to militants who are killed, incapacitated or captured.
The Bingöl Governor’s Office said five militants were killed on March 8 and the total number of killed militants had risen to 11.
In addition, a number of weapons were seized in the operations in the two provinces, including three M-16 infantry rifles, nine Kalashnikov infantry rifles, one Dragunov sniper rifle, and seven hand grenades, as well as documents related to the group.
The statement also said the operation in Diyarbakır-Bingöl border is ongoing “with increasing determination.”
During the operation, Gendarmerie Specialized Sgt. Ali Şirin was wounded and taken to a hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries on March 8.
His body was later sent to his hometown in the northern Anatolian province of Çorum for a funeral.
Meanwhile, Turkish jets have carried out air strikes against PKK targets in northern Iraq. The air strikes conducted in Zap and Avaşîn-Basyan regions late on March 8 resulted in the destruction of six PKK targets.
In addition, the Turkish General Staff said a number of shelters used by the outlawed group were destroyed.
The military gave no information on casualties.