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Turkish Military: 62 Kurdish Rebels Killed in Past 3 Days

  • Associated Press

Riot police use a water cannon to disperse demonstrators during a protest against the curfew in Sur district, in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir, Turkey, Dec.18, 2015.

Riot police use a water cannon to disperse demonstrators during a protest against the curfew in Sur district, in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir, Turkey, Dec.18, 2015.

Turkey's security forces killed 62 Kurdish militants in three days of operations in two mainly-Kurdish towns near the border with Iraq, the military said Friday. One Turkish soldier was killed in the fighting.

The government has imposed 24-hour curfews in the towns of Cizre and Silopi, allowing troops and police — backed by tanks and armored vehicles — to battle militants linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, who have moved their fight for autonomy to some towns and city neighborhoods.

The government says the militants have placed explosive devices, dug trenches and set up barricades in Cizre and Silopi and has vowed to press ahead with the operations until no armed rebel remains in the two towns. Unconfirmed reports have said that thousands of troops have been deployed.

A military statement on Friday said 56 Kurdish militants were killed in Cizre and six died in fighting in Silopi since Tuesday. The soldier was killed in a battle in Cizre.

At least eight security force members were wounded, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

Turkey's pro-Kurdish People's Democracy Party says at least 63 civilians have been killed by security forces' operations during curfews that have been enforced in 17 locations since August.

The European human rights body, the Council of Europe, has expressed concern over the curfews that bar residents from leaving homes and prevent observers or journalists from monitoring conditions. Turkey says the curfews aim to prevent civilian deaths.

Fighting between the government forces and the PKK flared up in July, killing hundreds of people and shattering a fragile peace process with the rebels.

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