QAMISHLI – The Turkish army forces have been bombing the Kurdish city of Nusaybin southeastern Turkey for weeks. At least seven neighborhoods in the city have been under heavy bombardment, according to Sara Kaya, mayor of Nusaybin city and member of the Democratic Peoples’ Party (HDP).
People of the Syrian city of Qamishli can clearly hear the sounds of bombings, heavy guns and explosives inside Nusaybin at the Turkish side of the border on a daily basis.
“Today, a member of our municipality has been killed by a sniper in front of his house,” the Kurdish mayor told ARA News in an exclusive interview.
She pointed out that nearly seven districts of the city has been under military blockade and heavy shelling for a couple of month.
“In the other districts, which are not exposed to the bombing, the Turkish security forces deployed snipers on top of the residential buildings,” Kaya told ARA News.
“Snipers are targeting any suspicious movement inside these neighborhoods. Residents there suffer snipers fire as happened today with our municipality worker,” she stressed.
Two weeks ago, scores of Turkish soldiers were killed and 12 others wounded during clashes with rebels of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in the Kurdish southeast, according to security and media sources.
About the causes of this military campaign, Kaya said: “We all know that the ruling party (AKP) was defeated on June 7 of last year against the entry of the HDP to the Turkish Parliament. Therefore, the authorities began to invade the Kurdish cities to militarily eliminate the Kurdish will.”
“The AKP tries to compensate its earlier loss in the parliamentary elections through designating all Kurds as terrorists and fighting them with military power,” she told ARA News.
“The Turkish war is not against a certain party, it’s against all Kurds; otherwise, what could explain the increasing death toll among civilians in this brutal campaign,” Kaya added.
Since the start of the Turkish military campaign last July, over a 1000 civilians have been reported dead, hundreds more injured and tens of thousands displaced due to the military operations by the Turkish forces southeastern the country. More than 100,000 displaced people have been documented in two months, while many others remain stranded in war-torn towns and villages in the Kurdish region, according to local activists.
Over the past two weeks, the army has been targeting the PKK strongholds in Nusaybin and Şırnak with tanks and artillery from the hills that overlook the two Kurdish areas, in a bid to remove the PKK-led checkpoints erected on the roads linking the cities in Turkey’s south-east, according to Turkish military sources.
Ankara-PKK violence has raged in Turkey’s Kurdish region since July subsequent to the collapse of peace talks–aimed at ending a three-decade conflict in the country.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday ruled out reviving peace talks with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), vowing to finish off the conflict–that was resumed in July 2015 after two years of peace talks which were supposed to end a three-decade conflict between the Turkish authorities and the PKK.
“We said ‘resolution process’, and they deceived us, their word cannot be trusted. That’s over now, we are going to finish this off,” Erdogan said in a speech to the state-run Red Crescent humanitarian organization.
“The terrorists can choose two paths: surrender to justice or be neutralized, one by one. There is no third way left in Turkey. We tried that repeatedly in the past,” he said.
Erdogan denied recent rumors about contacts between his government and the PKK.
He pointed out that 400 government forces and thousands of PKK rebels have been killed since July.
Human rights activists and opposition groups reported that nearly 1000 civilians have been killed in Kurdish areas of Turkey’s southeast since July.
“The Turkish army avoids mentioning the civilian casualties in its brutal campaign against the Kurdish region,” civil rights activist Ehmed Hokenek told ARA News in Cizre in an earlier interview.
“The Turkish bombardment has caused mass displacement among civilians, destruction of infrastructures and death of dozens of civilians in Cizre alone,” Hokenek said. “The casualties are being carefully documented, and our teams are trying to do the same in other Kurdish provinces, with a hope that the international community would ever take action and stop this brutal military campaign against the Kurds.”
Violence has raged in Turkey’s Kurdish region since July subsequent to the collapse of peace talks–aimed at ending a three-decade conflict that claimed lives of over 40,000 people since 1984.