Turkey Destroys 15 PKK Shelters in Southeast

2016-01-27 Hurriyet – The Turkish military has destroyed 15 areas used as shelters by outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants in southeastern Turkey in a comprehensive military operation targeting the militant group. Following a series of raids early Jan. 25 on 50 separate homes believe to be used by militants, the counterterrorism unit of the police department in the southeastern province of Siirt raided 120 separate areas, 15 of which were later determined to be used as shelters by militants from the group and demolished, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

The raids came upon intelligence that PKK militants were allegedly preparing to conduct an operation in the Ulus neighborhood of the province. Turkey has beefed up efforts to fight the insurgency with aerial campaigns and ground operations.Local governors have imposed curfews in several towns in the country’s east and southeast to root out alleged militants from the area. Cizre and Silopi, two districts in the southeastern province of Sirnak, and Sur, a district in the southeastern province of Diyarbakir, have all hit headlines since mid-December 2015, with round-the-clock curfews and intense clashes between Turkish security forces and suspected PKK militants.

The Turkish General Staff said on Jan. 25 in a written statement that six militants were killed in Cizre and one more in Sur on Jan. 24. According to the statement, a total of 452 PKK militants were “neutralized” in Cizre and 121 in Sur, where clashes have been going on with PKK members after local governors declared the curfew. “Neutralize” is a euphemism used by the state to refer to the death or injury of PKK combatants.Security forces also defused 16 improvised explosive devices in Cizre, seized nine shotguns and 155 cartridges, 13 Kalashnikov rifles and two radios, said the army.

In Sur, one shotgun and one pistol were seized.

The PKK — which is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. and the EU — and the Turkish state resumed hostilities in summer 2015 after the breakdown of peace negotiations. Since then, more than 200 members of the security forces have been killed, while “thousands” of PKK fighters have been killed in operations across Turkey and northern Iraq. The Turkish army said in a written statement on Jan. 24 that 446 PKK militants in Cizre, another 145 in Silopi and 120 others in Sur, have been killed during military operations targeting the outlawed group since early December 2015, according to Dogan News Agency. http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com