BIANET 6.9.2012 – Following the fierce clashes that took place between government forces and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the southeastern province of Şırnak over the weekend, Fırat Ataman, a native of the district Beytüşşebap, told bianet that children of the town were overwhelmed by the experience of war.
Following the fierce clashes that took place between government forces and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the southeastern province of Şırnak over the weekend, locals who were entrapped in the midst of the conflict are still trying to overcome their shock , according to Fırat Ataman, a store owner in the district of Beytüşşebap.
“It was around 21:30 p.m. Everyone suddenly began screaming in the middle of the shopping center. [We] heard the sound of gunfire, and everyone took shelter inside the shops [or] fled to their homes. The police broke into the shopping center, and a firefight ensued,” Ataman told bianet.
10 soldiers lost their lives in Sunday’s engagement, while many stores and cars were also damaged by bullets and rockets during the fighting in the district center. “There were police officers right in front of my store. Armored vehicles soon followed thereafter. A rocket hit the store while the fighting was underway. My store and the internet cafe next door were heavily damaged, while my car was also damaged due to bullets and shattered pieces of glass,” Ataman said. The situation has now calmed down, and the police and troops keep patrolling the streets, he said, adding that people still feared going out nonetheless.”Even adults were terrified; I cannot even fancy the situation of children. They still have not recovered,” he said.
“The children are shaken”
The Peace and Democracy Party’s (BDP) Beytüşşebap District Head Abdülkerim Ataman reproached mainstream media for not relating the story of what happened in all its reality.
“There is a war going on here, and the government keeps fanning the flames. Bullets rained down on people during the fighting. There are unexploded rockets and mortar shells on the roofs of people’s homes,” he said.Abdülkerim Ataman invited members of the government to the area “to see the circumstances under which soldiers live and the means available to them in battle.”
People are afraid to venture out, while the children are psychologically shaken, he added.
The area is currently inaccessible, as the bridge at the entrance of the district was also blown up during Sunday’s clashes, he noted. “What are we supposed to do to get our voices across?”
The PKK blew up the second bridge over Ilıcak Creek between Çeman and Beytüşşebap, after it attacked the district governor’s office, the TOKİ (Housing Development Administration of Turkey) houses and military installations from four directions with rifles and rocket launchers, according to Yüksekovahaber.com. The Beytüşşebap highway was also closed down in consequence.
Şırnak Governor Vahdettin Özkan was also unable to visit the district center for the same reason. Governor Özkan later arrived in the district by means of a helicopter, after which time he returned back to Şırnak. (AS)