Turkish human rights group says as many as 162 civilians have died since August, caught up in the increased fighting between government forces and Kurdish rebels in urban districts in Turkish Kurdistan.
The Turkish Human Rights Foundation said late Saturday that 32 children, 29 women and 24 elderly people were among civilians killed in districts where authorities have imposed 24-hour curfews as they battle militants linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK.
The Turkish security forces have launched large-scale operations in areas where the militants have mounted barricades, dug trenches and set up explosives to keep authorities away.
Three female Kurdish politicians have been killed on January 4, in fighting in a curfew-hit town in Turkish Kurdistan. The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) said three of its female campaigners and another as-yet-unidentified man had been shot and badly wounded in Silopi town in Sirnak province, accusing the Turkish authorities of failing to evacuate them despite pleas. All four died.
A Kurdish mother of three was killed on January 4, by Turkish mortar fire that hits her apartment. Melek Alpaydin, 38, was eating breakfast when the shell hit her apartment in the Sur district of Diyarbakir.
Turkish authorities say 426 militants have died in ongoing operations in the Kurdish towns of Cizre and Silopi and Diyarbakir’s Sur neighborhood.
The conflict against the PKK resumed in July, shattering a two-year-old peace process.
The PKK took up arms in 1984 against the Turkish state, which still denies the constitutional existence of Kurds, to push for greater autonomy for the Kurdish minority who make up around 22.5 million of the country’s 78-million population, in Turkish Kurdistan. The conflict has left tens of thousands dead.
The PKK in the past has been largely focused in the countryside, but the latest conflict has been focused in urban areas, where the PKK youth wing has set up barricades and dug trenches to keep security forces out.
A large Turkey’s Kurdish community openly sympathise with PKK rebels.
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