CIZRE – At least nine civilians and 16 rebel fighters have been killed as security forces battle militants of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast, the army and the region’s main political party said on Monday.
Violence has raged in the region since the collapse of peace talks last July aimed at ending a three-decade PKK insurgency. Some of the worst clashes have been in the town of Cizre and the Sur district of Diyarbakir, the region’s biggest city, where security forces have imposed a 24-hour curfew.
Ten of the 16 rebels killed on Sunday were in Cizre and six were in Sur, the military said on its website, adding that this brought the militants’ total death toll in the two places to 749 since December.
In the center of Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city, police used water cannon and tear gas on Monday to break up a protest against the Cizre operations, witnesses said. Several people were detained, according to Dogan News Agency.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, speaking at a joint news conference in the capital Ankara with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said the Cizre operations may draw to a close in the next few days.
The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which has Kurdish origins and is the southeast’s biggest party, named nine civilians who had been killed in Cizre since Friday, bringing the death toll to 127 civilians since December.
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