55 PKK militants, one soldier killed in three days in southeast

55 PKK militants, one soldier killed in three days in southeast

55 PKK militants, one soldier killed in three days in southeast

AA Photo

Security forces have killed 55 militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in operations in Turkey’s southeastern districts over the past three days, while one soldier has been killed in clashes on Dec. 18, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

With the crackdown now on its sixth day, a Turkish soldier was killed in intense clashes with the PKK, the first fatality suffered by the Army in the operation, security sources told Agence France-Presse.

Specialized sergeant Serkan Has, 25, was killed in clashes as a military-imposed curfew entered its sixth day in two districts of the province of Şırnak. 

Some 49 militants were killed in Sırnak’s Cizre district, while six were killed in its Silopi district in three days, Anadolu Agency said. 

Three PKK militants were apprehended alive, while 19 members of the Turkish security forces were injured in the clashes, it added.

The operation in the towns of Cizre and Silopi began on Dec. 14, with 25 militants killed in first two days. But the latest figure more than doubled the number of casualties, implying a heavy toll during yesterday’s fighting inside the towns.

The vast operation, which is now in its fourth day and involves thousands of troops, is centered on two towns of the Şırnak province where the military has imposed blanket curfews.

Meanwhile, two civilians were killed in Cizre during the operations, Doğan News Agency reported.

On Dec. 16, a 45-year-old woman was killed during the clashes in Cizre while a curfew was imposed by the security forces. Hediye Şen, a mother of four, also died during clashes. Şen was laid to rest in Cizre’s Damlabaşı village on Dec. 18. 

On Dec. 17, another civilian, 25-year-odl Doğan Aslan, was killed in the clashes. 

Interior Minister Efkan Ala, however, denied reports that no civilian was harmed by security forces during the ongoing urban battle with the PKK, while dismissing claims that “terrorist incidents” were actually manipulated by the state.

Meanwhile, police fired water cannons and tear gas on Dec. 18 in the close-by city of Diyarbakır to break up a crowd protesting the security operations.

On Dec. 17, Ala said security forces seized 2,240 weapons, 862 of which were heavy and long-barreled weapons, almost 10 tons of explosives and some 10,000 Molotov cocktails during operations in the southeast.

Ala also revealed that legal action was being taken against dozens of municipal authorities over of the use of municipality-owned construction equipment for digging ditches in the region. The ditches are said to be dug by the PKK’s youth branch or its sympathizers in order to keep security forces out of residential areas. 

“[Legal] action has been taken against 18 mayors and 41 members of municipal councils. Both a judicial and an administrative investigation have been launched. Some of them have been arrested, while these [59 authorities] have been suspended,” he said.