Forces deployed in Turkey’s southeast as army starts new wave of operations
DHA PhotoThe authorities have deployed 20,000 soldiers and police officers to two troubled districts in Turkey’s southeast, amid the launching of a new wave of operations against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in city centers.
The deployment came after the announcement of curfews that went into effect in the Nusaybin district of the southeastern province of Mardin at midnight on March 14 and in the Yüksekova district of the southeastern province of Hakkari at 10 p.m. on March 13.
According to a statement by the Hakkari Governor’s Office, an indefinite curfew will be in place until a second announcement, as entrances and exits to Yüksekova were banned.
A curfew has also been declared in the city center of the southeastern province of Şırnak starting at 11 p.m. on March 14.
The operation in Nusaybin started early on March 14, shortly after the curfew went into effect, with specialized soldiers and police officers removing barricades set up by PKK militants in the town. Two militants were killed in a clash that erupted during the search of a house believed to be used by the PKK, Anadolu Agency reported. Vehicles are allowed to leave the district through checkpoints, but no vehicles are allowed to enter.
Before the start of the operations, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) identified houses and other buildings used as bases by the outlawed PKK militants, whose number in the district is estimated at around 2,000.
The Orman neighborhood of the district, along with the Cumhuriyet and Güngür neighborhoods, where 10 houses believed to be used by PKK militants are located, have been identified as strategically important.
All entrances and exits to and from the two neighborhoods are banned, while some roads have been completely closed in order to prevent suspected militants from receiving aid.
Security forces identified that the militants have stocked up weapons inside several elementary and middle schools and a high school in Yüksekova, while trenches filled with tubed explosives have also been identified in many streets.
Around 11,000 personnel from the Gendarmerie Special Operation and the Police Special Operations teams are conducting operations in the town. An additional 10,000 personnel from the Special Forces are reportedly conducting operations in rural areas to stop possible logistical support to the militants from the surrounding İkiyaka Mountains. Four UAVs will be operating for 24 hours during the operation, which is expected to last for around two months and be extended to the nearby borders with Iran and Iraq.
Meanwhile, the military is continuing its operations against the PKK in rural areas. The Turkish General Staff said in a statement on March 14 that Gendarmerie Special Forces and commandoes conducted an operation on March 2 in the eastern province of Ağrı, while another operation was staged in the eastern province of Siirt on March 6-7.
Operations continued in the eastern province of Tunceli on the same dates and another operation took place in Ağrı on March 10.
All operations were named after soldiers killed during clashes with outlawed PKK militants.