Turkey declares curfew in another Kurdish town

Turkish authorities declared a curfew on Tuesday in the town of Idil (Hezex), in the Kurdish-majority province of Sirnak.

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (K24) – Turkish authorities declared a curfew on Tuesday in the town of Idil (Hezex), in the Kurdish-majority province of Sirnak. The province has recently seen two other municipalities, Cizre and Silopi, endure weeks of fighting between the army and Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

In an announcement released on its official website, the Governorate of Sirnak said that the round-the-clock curfew order would be in effect by 11:00 p.m. local time on Tuesday.

Sirnak Province is on Turkey's border with both Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan) and Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

The announcement added that the curfew is meant "to capture members of the divisive organization, lift barricades, and remove barricades and trenches," referencing PKK and its affiliates and their activities.

More than half of the 26,000 residents of Idil already deserted the municipality in anticipation of fierce clashes reports K24 Diyarbakir.

Such fighting often results in civilian deaths and immense infrastructural destruction, as seen elsewhere, particularly in Cizre and the central historical district of Sur in Diyarbakir.

On Monday, all shops except bakeries and pharmacies remained shut down in Idil in protest of the 17 anniversary of the imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan's capture.

The Turkish Dogan News agency said clashes erupted between police and PKK affiliates in the evening, and sporadic gunfire was heard intermittently as well. No casualties are reported at the time of publishing.

Last week, more than one thousand teachers in Idil received text messages (SMS) from the Ministry of Education, ordering them to leave town for training courses in various Turkish cities.

Turkish and Kurdish media in Turkey saw this order as a sign of a new curfew since teachers in Cizre and Silopi received similar text messages in mid-December before fighting in urban centers.

PKK youth affiliates have recently formed armed units known as 'Civilian Protection Units' or YPS in population centers across Kurdistan of Turkey.

Editing by Benjamin Kweskin and Karzan Sulaivany
(Siddiq Eren and Nevin Diri contributed to this story from Diyarbakir and Ankara)