Curfew in Silopi partly lifted as death toll rises
ŞIRNAK / DİYARBAKIR
AFP PhotoA curfew was partially removed in the southeastern town of Silopi on Jan. 19, with Turkey’s prime minister announcing that military operations against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) have ended in the town. Meanwhile, three members of the security forces and two civilians have been killed since late Jan. 18.
A military curfew, which has been in place since Dec. 14, 2015, was to be lifted between 5 a.m. and 6 p.m. every day in the Silopi district of southeastern Şırnak province as of Jan. 19.
The curfew will continue to be imposed at nights between 6 p.m. and 5 a.m.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu told reporters during a visit to London that the operation in Silopi, near the border with Iraq, had ended “successfully,” the 24-hour curfew had been eased and reconstruction efforts would soon begin.
“There may be sporadic incidents, but all of the ditches [in Silopi] have been filled in, all of the barricades have been lifted,” he said.
Families who had left Silopi due to clashes between the security forces and PKK militants were returning to the town on Jan. 19, where signs of extensive fighting were visible, Doğan News Agency reported. A medical center had been set on fire, shops and homes were damaged and explosives defused by the security forces in controlled-blasts had left craters on roads.
Shopkeepers were seen sweeping glass and other debris away from the front of their businesses.
Meanwhile, three security officers were killed more than 13 police officers have been wounded in clashes with the PKK in the southeastern provinces of Diyarbakır and Şırnak since late Jan. 18.
PKK militants attacked a police shuttle vehicle with a rocket launcher at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 18 in Şırnak’s central Yeni Mahalle neighborhood.
Two policemen, identified as Alican Öztürk and Mustafa Yaşar, were killed in the attack while 10 others were wounded and hospitalized at military and state hospitals in Şırnak.
In Şırnak’s Cizre district, a police officer was killed on Jan. 19 in clashes with militants from the outlawed organization.
In a separate attack in Diyarbakır’s Sur district late on Jan. 18, one special sergeant was heavily wounded in gunfire opened by PKK militants. The soldier, identified as Fazlı Altuntaş, was taken to Diyarbakır Military Hospital but he succumbed to his wounds while receiving treatment.
On Jan. 19, three policemen were wounded when PKK militants opened fire with sharpshooters in Sur.
One of the policemen is reported to be in a critical condition, while the other two who were wounded are reported to be in good condition at the Diyarbakır Military Hospital.
Meanwhile, two civilians were killed in the Cudi and Sur neighborhoods of Şırnak’s Cizre district, where a military-imposed curfew has been in effect since Dec. 14, 2015.
A 35-year-old civilian, identified as Mehmet Kaplan, was shot dead on Jan. 18 in front of his house in Cizre’s Sur neighborhood, where clashes have been ongoing.
Details on Kaplan’s cause of death were not disclosed.
In a separate incident, the body of a civilian was found outside Cizre’s Cudi neighborhood. The man, identified as 36-year-old Mehmet Rıdvan Kaymaz, was shot in the head, although further details of the killing remain uncertain.
Reports indicated Kaymaz left his house on Jan. 17 in order to feed his animals but did not return home.
Kaymaz’s family went out to look for him and discovered his body, which had a gunshot wound to the head, near the animals.
His body was taken to the Cizre State Hospital for an autopsy.