25 killed in army operations in southeast Turkey
Iran Press TV
Mon Feb 8, 2016 5:34PM
At least 25 people have been killed during the Turkish army's military operations against militants from Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in the country's southeast.
The army said on Monday that nine civilians were among the dead, adding that ten PKK militants were killed in operations in the town of Cizre and six others in the city of Sur.
A 24-hour curfew has been imposed in parts of Cizre and Sur since December as part of the army's plan to drive out PKK militants who have declared autonomy over the Kurdish region. Some 749 people have been killed in the two cities since December.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Monday that the military operations in Cizre may end in the next few days.
'It is obvious that [the PKK] is implementing methods to destabilize cities in Turkey. In this regard, Cizre is a critical town, situated so close to the border, exploitable for weapons and terrorists to cross,' Davutoglu said.
Since late July 2015, Turkey's southeastern regions have witnessed a spike in violence amid heavy confrontations between army forces and the PKK, an outlawed group that have been fighting for an autonomous Kurdish region inside Turkey since 1980s.
On July 20 last year, a bomb attack in the southern Kurdish-majority town of Sur claimed more than 30 lives. The Turkish government blamed it on the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group. After the bombing, the PKK, accusing the government of supporting Daesh, engaged in a series of reprisal attacks against Turkish police and security forces, in turn prompting the Turkish military operations.
Ankara's military has also been involved in an offensive against positions of the Kurdish group in neighboring Iraq.
Several thousands of Kurdish residents in Diyarbakir in southeast Turkey have, meanwhile, fled the embattled city amid intense clashes between government forces and the PKK militants.
The PKK is listed as a terrorist group by many countries.
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