Three soldiers killed in Turkish city as curfew expanded

Turkish police stand guard near a building damaged by a truck bomb attack on a police station, in Cinar in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir, Turkey. (File photo: Reuters)

Three Turkish soldiers were killed Wednesday in clashes with Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) militants in Diyarbakir in southeast Turkey, the military said, as a controversial curfew order was expanded to new areas in the Kurdish-dominated city.

Kurdish militants on Wednesday attacked the security forces with rifles and rocket launchers in the central Sur district of Diyarbakir, prompting intense clashes that killed three soldiers and wounded six others, the army said in a statement.

Vowing to flush out the PKK from Turkey’s urban centers, the authorities have in recent weeks enforced curfews in three locations in the southeast to back up military operations that activists say have killed dozens of civilians.

A curfew measure in Sur, which has been in place since Dec. 2, has been widened to cover five more neighborhoods and a main road on Wednesday to help the security forces remove the bombs and barricades set up by the militants, local authorities said.

Clutching bags of possessions and mattresses, residents of the affected areas rapidly moved to different neighborhoods to take shelter, an AFP photographer said.

Curfews remain in place in the town of Cizre in Sirnak province near the Iraqi border, which was imposed on Dec. 14. A curfew in nearby Silopi was partially lifted last week.

The army also said a total of 20 Kurdish rebels were killed in Cizre and Sur on Tuesday, bringing the total number of militants killed in the two towns to some 600 since the “anti-terror” operation started in December.

It was not immediately possible to independently verify the figures.

The operations mark a new escalation in six months of fighting with the PKK since a two-and-a-half year truce collapsed.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:47 - GMT 06:47