Security sources in Turkey say at least three police officers were killed Sunday in two separate attacks in the southeastern part of the country. They are the latest violent incidents after weeks of clashes between government forces and Kurdish militants.
Sources said two police officers were killed in a car bomb attack near a police checkpoint outside the town of Sirnak. Security forces pursued the suspects by helicopter, shelling the militants and killing two as they fled.
Another police officer was killed in the Silvan district of Diyarbakir province after Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants carried out a rocket attack.
Cizre scarred by fighting
Over the past week, Turkish security forces have carried out a massive military operation in the southeastern town of Cizre. When a nine-day curfew was lifted Saturday, residents emerged to scenes of destruction – houses and vehicles riddled with bullet holes and hundreds of empty shells scattered on every corner.
Some townspeople claim up to 25 civilians, including women and children, were killed during the week-long fight. Their version of the events has not been confirmed.
A VOA Turkish reporter visiting Cizre Saturday witnessed bombed-out buildings on every street of the city near Turkey’s border with Iraq and Syria.
The city was completely cut off from the rest of the world for more than a week as Turkish security forces confronted the PKK’s armed youth groups who had taken over the town.
In the early hours after the curfew lifted, the town was quiet, but frustration was evident on the faces of those who came out into the streets.
Turan Oytun showed VOA his house, while his wife, Saliha, cried in the kitchen, asking: “What have we done to them?”
The refrigerator was riddled with bullet holes and other appliances were destroyed.
“We have been in here for nine days. There were 23 people hiding here. We neither had food nor electricity,” Oytun said.
The rebels appear to have dug holes between houses to provide residents safe passage from the security forces firing at them.
Trenches in the streets were filled with water because the explosions left water pipes damaged in some areas. Most of the town was left without water and electricity for days. Homes with water service kept their taps running the whole time to share water with neighbors.
The security forces surrounding the town allowed no one in or out, including parliament members from the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party.