Turkish forces besiege Kurdish town of Silvan under the pretext of combatting PKK rebels

Turkish soldiers stand guard by their armoured vehicle in the empty streets of Diyarbakir. File photo: AFP

ARA News 

URFA – The Turkish army waged a battle by tanks, helicopters and aircraft on the Kurdish town of Silvan in the southeastern province of Diyarbakir under the pretext of combatting rebels of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), local sources reported on Friday. 

Subsequent to nearly two weeks of curfew, clashes continue in the town where various kinds of weapons have been used by the Turkish army against PKK rebels, Turkish security sources stated.

Dozens of Turkish tanks have been roaming the streets of Silvan, pounding any single move in the besieged town, as the Turkish military warplanes and helicopters targeted several neighborhoods of the town where PKK rebels were allegedly stationed.

Kurdish activists reported that several residential neighborhoods, which security forces say they are hideouts of PKK insurgents, have been struck in Silvan.

“The military offensive caused dozens of civilian casualties in the town,” an eyewitness told ARA News.

Speaking to ARA News in Diyarbakir, media activist Shervan Kurtoglu confirmed that people of Silvan are trying to flee the war-torn town.

“They are trying to escape a certain death,” he said. “A number of civilians were killed while trying to escape from the embattled town.”

“Turkish helicopters fired missiles, demolishing a number of residential buildings in the town,” Kurtoglu told ARA News, pointing out “more than ten civilians have been killed and dozens others wounded in the army’s operation so far.” 

ARA News could not verify the exact number of civilian casualties from other sources.

Separately, Figen Yüksekdağ, co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Peoples’ Party (HDP), was injured Thursday after being hit with a tear gas shell in her head while trying, with other members of the party, to break a siege imposed by the Turkish army on the town of Silvan. 

Turkish police prevented the Kurdish delegation of HDP from breaking the siege. They were forced to leave the town under assault with water and tear gas shells, according to Kurdish activists.

In the meantime, a Turkish security officer was killed in clashes with PKK rebels east of the country, a security official said on Friday.

The security forces raided a PKK suspected house in Ircis district of the province of Van. 

“PKK militants opened fire on the security forces, killing an officer,” the source said. 

Reporting by: Jan Nasro

Source: ARA News

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