Tens of thousands of people flee homes amid new clashes in Turkey's southeast
MARDİN / HAKKARİ
DHA photoTens of thousands of people living in two southeastern provinces, Yüksekova in Hakkari and Nusaybin in Mardin, have fled their homes amid new clashes between security forces and militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Some 40,000 out of the total 70,000 residents in Yüksekova have escaped to other cities, especially the Hakkari city center or neighboring Van, since the start of a curfew late on March 13.
The military forces are fighting against some 350 to 400 alleged militants in the town as they also bid to refill ditches dug by the militants and detonate explosives.
The governor’s offices in Hakkari and Van are purportedly offering aid to those who have left their houses.
Before the wide-scale operations, officials call on civilians in the towns to leave their houses temporarily if possible.
Officials from the Family Ministry have already reached 320 families out of 558 who left Yüksekova, Anadolu Agency reported.
Some 28 PKK militants have been killed in three days, according to a March 16 announcement by the military.
The Family Ministry’s Hakkari director, Mehmet Akif Bildirici, said in a written statement March 15 that his office tried to reach the families to designate their needs as they are leaving the town.
“We have prepared a comprehensive work plan for those families who migrate. As part of this plan, we have prepared psychosocial support teams that are made of members of 29 professions, including social workers, psychologists, sociologists, and teachers,” said Bildirici.
Bilidirici also said they identified that some 350 families migrated to the neighboring province of Van, leading officials to send their information to the Van Directorate of Family and Social Policies.
From Mardin’s Nusaybin, with a population of 90,000, some 50,000 people have fled, according to official figures.
On March 15, soldiers evacuated a family of five from the clash zone, using an armored vehicle.
At least 10 PKK militants were killed during ongoing operations in Turkey’s southeastern provinces between March 14 and 16, Turkish military announced March 16.
On March 14, a police officer was killed while three PKK militants were killed during a clash in Diyarbakir. Ten other policemen were also injured in that incident.