SILVAN, Turkey (Reuters) - Ten people have been killed in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast since late on Tuesday, security sources said, as the military moved against rebels who dug trenches, erected barriers and planted explosives in one flashpoint town.
Five members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and one soldier were killed in clashes in Silvan, the provincial governor said in a statement. The town is seeing its most intense fighting since the conflict re-ignited in July.
One child was also wounded in the town of 85,000 some 80 km (50 miles) north of the region’s largest city of Diyarbakir. Armored police vehicles prowled three, otherwise deserted Silvan neighborhoods that have been under a round-the-clock curfew since Nov. 2.
Military operations in those districts are aimed at “neutralizing” PKK militants who, according to a statement by Diyarbakir’s governor, have dug trenches, set up barricades and planted explosives in the streets.
In Silvan, houses were riddled with bullet holes, and schools and businesses were shuttered in districts under curfew. Life continued as normal in the city’s other areas.
“We want peace and calm right away, we don’t want any more clashes,” said a 21-year-old resident on condition of anonymity. “May the violence stop soon so no more people die.”
The PKK on Nov. 5 ended a month-old truce it had declared before a Nov. 1 general election. That vote was won by the AK Party co-founded by President Tayyip Erdogan, who has vowed to fight the PKK until all of its militants are “liquidated”.
The PKK, which wants autonomy for Turkey’s large Kurdish minority, is listed as a terrorist organization by Ankara, the United States and European Union. It took up arms against the state in 1984, and more than 40,000 people, mostly Kurdish militants, have died in the conflict.
A street cleaner in the town of Dargecit in Mardin province was killed by shrapnel after a police vehicle drove over an explosive device thought to have been laid by Kurdish militants, the sources said. A police officer was wounded in the attack.
Three policemen were killed late on Tuesday in the town of Silopi, near the Syrian and Iraqi borders, when Kurdish insurgents opened fire on their car, sources said.
Hundreds of people have been killed since a two-year ceasefire by PKK militants broke down in July.
Writing by Ece Toksabay and Ayla Jean Yackley; Editing by Nick Tattersall and Raissa Kasolowsky