Turkey deploying special commandos to Cizre
Uğur Ergan - ANKARAThe Turkish army has deployed specially trained military forces in the southeastern town of Cizre, which has been under curfew for more than two weeks, to deactivate improvised explosive devices that cannot be seen to the naked eye.
Underwater Defense Command (SAS) forces, Turkish commandos trained specifically on counterterrorism activities such as spotting and deactivating explosives, as well as providing high-level security, were dispatched to Cizre to spot and deactivate explosives placed on streets and inside homes by alleged outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants, daily Hürriyet reported yesterday.
SAS forces were reported to be deployed to deactivate explosive devices PKK militants hung with fishing line to make them invisible to the naked eye as clashes continue between security forces and militants in the town on which an indeterminate curfew was imposed on Dec. 14 to prevent civilian casualties during military operations targeting PKK militants.
Three SAS teams were deployed in the region encompassing Cizre, Yüksekova and Çukurca districts, both of which are in the southeastern province of Hakkari, and the southeastern province of Mardin. The teams formed by commissioned officers and sergeants have reportedly deactivated large numbers of explosives so far.
Forces from Turkey’s Amphibious Marine Infantry Brigade Command based in Foça, a district in the Aegean province of İzmir, have also been deployed to the region. Marine infantry brigades were on duty in the Cudi Mountains, an area between central Şırnak and its Silopi district, between 1993 and 2001.
Maroon berets also deployed in clash zones
Around 200 maroon berets, specially trained Turkish soldiers to be deployed in challenging counterterrorism operations, in the country’s east and southeast in particular, have also reportedly been deployed in clash zones in Turkey’s southeast.
Turkey has beefed up efforts in fighting terrorism, with aerial campaigns and ground operations targeting militants from the PKK. Local governors have imposed curfews in several towns in the country’s east and southeast to clear the towns off of terrorists.
The state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Dec. 29 that 155 PKK militants had been killed in Cizre since the start of military operations, citing figures gathered from the Turkish General Staff (TSK).