More than 100 Kurdish militants killed in Turkish offensive

Turkish security forces have killed at least 102 members of the armed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in military operations against the banned group in the south-east of the country over the past four days, Turkish media reported Saturday.

The south-eastern border province of Sirnak saw the heaviest casulties, with 76 militants killed in the Cizre district, the Dogan news agency reported, citing security sources.

In the hard-hit province, eight civilians have been killed in recent days, including three teenagers since late Friday, the Kurdish Firat news agency reported. 

Ten militants were killed in the Syrian-border province of Mardin. Another 16 militants were killed in Diyarbakir province's Sur district, following the death of a soldier earlier in the morning. The area has been under a tight curfew for nearly all of the month.

The soldier's death, confirmed by the army, marked the second military fatality in two days.

Turkey has deployed tanks and helicopters as it steps up its offensive following five months of violence between the state and Kurdish militants.

The security crackdown is in its fourth day and the military pledged to continue operations until "public order" was restored.

Strict round-the-clock curfews have been imposed on residents of Kurdish areas, raising concern and resentment among locals.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has pledged troops will go "house to house" and that operations would continue until affected areas were "cleaned" of militants.

Turkey and the PKK have been fighting a civil war for 30 years. Peace talks collapsed this year and a two-year ceasefire broke down in July.

Last update: Sat, 19/12/2015 - 22:08
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