Turkey re-lifts curfew in restive Cizre

Residents carry coffins of people who were killed during the clashes, in Cizre in the Kurdish-dominated souteastern province of Sirnak, Turkey, Sept. 13. (Reuters)

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 September 4 and then lifted last Friday after nine days amid concerns of a humanitarian crisis.

Local residents on Saturday ventured outside into their battered city 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 then re-imposed the curfew from 1600 GMT on Sunday evening for another operation to arrest Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants.

"The curfew in Cizre has been lifted as of 7:00 am (0400 GMT)," the Sirnak governor's office said in a statement early Monday.

The Turkish government said that up to 32 Kurdish militants were killed during the previous nine-day curfew in an "anti-terror" operation against suspected members of the PKK.

But the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) has said 21 civilians were killed during the operation, which triggered food shortages.

According to the pro-Kurdish DIHA news agency, the dead included a month-old baby, several teenagers and three men aged 70 or over.

This has not been confirmed by the interior ministry, which says just one civilian was killed in clashes between the army and the PKK.

Thousands attended funerals on Sunday morning for 16 of those killed in the curfew.

The operation in Cizre, a city of 120,000 on the border with Syria and close to Iraq, was a key part of the government's drive to cripple the PKK in southeast Turkey and northern Iraq, which started in late July and shows no sign of abating.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:46 - GMT 06:46