Cizre in turmoil as Turkish military operations continue

Kurdish residents in Cizre bid farewell to a young man killed in earlier Turkish military operations. File photo: DHA

CIZRE – Turkish authorities on Monday lifted a curfew in the mainly Kurdish southeastern city of Cizre after re-imposing it for 12 hours following a deadly nine-day military lockdown, the regional governor’s office said.

The curfew, enforced as the army battles Kurdish militants, had first been put in place on the evening of Sep. 4 and then lifted last Friday amid concerns of a humanitarian crisis in the battered city.

Local residents on Saturday ventured outside for the first time, stocking up on supplies and burying victims who they say were killed by the army during the curfew.

However the regional authorities in Sirnak province re-imposed the curfew from 1600 GMT on Sunday evening for another operation to allegedly arrest Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

“The curfew in Cizre has been lifted as of 7:00 am,” the Sirnak governor’s office said in a statement early Monday. 

On Thursday, the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) said in a statement that 21 civilians have died during the Turkish curfew.

Selahattin Demirtas, the co-chairman of the HDP, has been leading fellow deputies and dozens of supporters on a march to Cizre to end the curfew and draw attention to the plight of its 120,000 residents.

However, the Turkish army denied killing civilians, saying that most of the dead in Cizre are PKK supporters.

Nils Muižnieks, human rights commissioner for the Council of Europe, expressed concern over claims of “disproportionate use of force” against civilians in Cizre. 

“I have received serious allegations of disproportionate use of force by security forces against civilians,” said Muižnieks in a statement. “I urge the authorities to ensure immediate access to Cizre by independent observers in order to dispel the rumours of human rights violations.”

“Life started to return in Cizre after deadly attacks by Turkish forces. The authorities had imposed a curfew on the town and cut off electricity and water. The Turkish operations caused casualties among civilians,” media activist Hesen Ciziri told ARA News. 

Source: ARA News, agencies

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