Turkey imposes curfew in Diyarbakir, launches military operation
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) - Turkish authorities imposed a round-the-clock curfew in 46 villages in the major Kurdish province of Diyarbakir as the army launched a vast operation on Thursday against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in the area.
Diyarbakir's Ankara-appointed governor's office in a press release on its website said the mountainous region and forests around the districts of Kulp, Lice, Hazro, and Silvan where the villages are located served as a bastion for the Kurdish fighters.
The governorate statement read that the operation's objective was "to neutralize high-ranking terrorists, capture their accomplices, and destroy their shelters, anti-aircraft positions, and arms depots."
The curfew was in place until a second announcement began at 5 AM local time.
In a previously imposed curfew earlier this month in a rural area of Lice, an army helicopter wounded at least three civilians when it opened fire in a village.
The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) said troops blocked any help from reaching the wounded for hours but Turkish officials accused the victims of being PKK collaborators.
Since the revival of the decades-long PKK-Turkish state conflict in the aftermath of the mid-2015 collapse of a round of peace talks between the two sides, authorities have on hundreds of occasions enforced, at times for months, round-the-clock curfews in scores of Kurdish provinces.
The operation in Diyarbakir came as Turkish airstrikes on Tuesday killed at least seven civilians in the Kurdistan Region's Duhok province where PKK hold presence near the border.
Meanwhile, a military drill Ankara launched with hundreds of tanks, armored vehicles, and thousands of troops in an apparent response to Kurdish authorities’ determination to proceed with holding the referendum entered its fourth day.
Westward, in the Kilis and Hatay provinces bordering Syria, Turkey continued to beef up its army reinforcements this week in preparation of what the pro-government media suggest as an imminent incursion into the Kurdish Afrin district across the border.
Editing by G.H. Renaud