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Iran Press TV

Turkey army ends operations in Kurdish town of Cizre: Minister

Iran Press TV

Thu Feb 11, 2016 3:58PM

The Turkish military has ended an almost two-month military operation in the mainly Kurdish southeastern town of Cizre, the country's interior minister says.

Speaking to reporters in the Turkish port city of Istanbul, Efkan Ala said that the military on Thursday ended a 'successful' operation to root out members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in Cizre, which is located in Turkey's Sirnak Province near the Iraqi and Syrian border.

'The operations in Cizre have been successfully completed,' the minister said, adding, "Control has been re-established in Cizre and over the terrorists there.'

However, the Turkish minister noted that a 24-hour curfew in the town will remain in place for a while longer. A 24-hour curfew has been imposed in parts of Cizre and Sur since December last year as part of the army's plan to drive out PKK militants who have declared autonomy over the Kurdish region.

According to the Turkish military, at least 580 militants had been killed in Cizre since the operations began there against the PKK on December 14. However, Kurdish activists claim the campaign has cost dozens of civilian lives in the troubled region.

In late January, the New York based Human Rights Watch (HRW) slammed Turkey for what it called a spike in human rights violations committed over the past year.

Ankara has been engaged in a large-scale military campaign against the PKK in its southern border region in the recent past. The Turkish military has been also conducting offensive against the PKK positions in northern Iraq.

The operations began in the wake of a deadly July 20 bombing in the southern Turkish town of Suruc, an ethnically Kurdish town located close to border with Syria. Over 30 people died in the Suruc attack, which the Turkish government blamed on Takfiri Daesh terrorists.

After the bombing in Suruc, the PKK militants, who accuse the government in Ankara of supporting the Takfiri Daesh terrorists, engaged in a series of supposed 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.

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.

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