(From Reuters)

Turkish tanks on Tuesday pounded Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) targets in Cizre, a southeastern town at the heart of a large-scale military operation that the army said has killed 127 Kurdish militants in a week.

A Turkish soldier watches fighting between Kurdish forces and ISIS militants in Syria
A Turkish soldier watches fighting between Kurdish forces and ISIS militants in Syria

Black smoke rose from buildings in the town after shelling from hilltops, Reuters TV footage showed, and the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) said at least 23 civilians had been killed in the violence.

A prosecutor opened an investigation against HDP leader Selahattin Demirtas, two other HDP lawmakers and two senior Kurdish politicians. They are accused of violating anti-terrorism laws and encouraging criminal activity at a press conference last week where Demirtas urged Kurdish citizens to “resist” the operations.

Turkish lawmakers cannot be prosecuted unless parliament first strips them of their immunity.

Clashes have forced tens of thousands of people to leave their homes in Sur, a historic district of the region’s largest city Diyarbakir, which has been under curfew for three weeks, CNN Turk said, citing a report prepared by the main opposition Republican Peoples Party (CHP).

Turkish security forces launched a new offensive in the mainly Kurdish region last week, backed by tanks and thousands of troops, after President Tayyip Erdogan pledged to root out militants.

The towns of Cizre and Silopi, bordering Iraq and Syria, have been the focus of the campaign. Images on state media from Sur have shown Turkish troops patrolling rubble-strewn streets among buildings riddled with bullet holes. Read more

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