102 killed in Turkey’s major offensive against PKK militants

  • AFP, Diyarbakir, Turkey
  • Updated: Dec 20, 2015 16:00 IST
Riot police fire tear gas to disperse demonstrators during a protest against the curfew in Sur district in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir. Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast has been beset by unrest in recent months as security forces battle Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants after a ceasefire collapsed in July. (REUTERS)

The number of Kurdish rebels killed during a huge Turkish military offensive in the country’s restive southeast has jumped to 102, a security source told AFP Sunday as the operation entered its fifth day.

At least two soldiers and five civilians have also been killed in the clashes, the source said.

An earlier toll released on Saturday put the figure at 70 dead, with the army saying all of them were suspected members of the militant Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Some 10,000 troops backed by tanks have been deployed in the southeast to try to rout young PKK supporters from urban areas, according to local media.

The operation, which has targeted the towns of Cizre and Silopi in Sirnak province as well as a neighbourhood in Diyarbakir, the largest city in the region, began on Wednesday, according to the army.

On Friday, the military also carried out air strikes on PKK “hideouts” and “weapons sites” across the border in northern Iraq, where the outlawed group has its rear bases.

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