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Many dead in anti-PKK Turkish military operation in southeast

At least 29 people, including one civilian, have been killed in a Turkish military operation against the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Fighting is underway in the southeastern town of Silopi.

Following the operation in Silopi, near the Iraqi and Syrian borders, the Turkish military said that 28 PKK fighters had been killed.

The pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP) stated that the army encircled the area of Zap on Saturday night with tanks. In another area, a sniper killed a 65-year old man in his house, according to dpa.

Ferhat Encu, an HDP parliamentarian who lives in Silopi, told dpa on Sunday that the fighting was ongoing and that artillery fire could be heard. Turkish authorities imposed a curfew in Silopi more than two weeks ago.

Turkish news agency Dogan reported that a 38-year-old mother of three was killed on Sunday when a mortar shell hit her apartment in the Sur district of Diyarbakir. It was not immediately clear where the shell had been fired from. According to Dogan, an investigation was underway.

Much of Diyarbakir's Sur district has been under a curfew since early December as Turkish security forces seek to drive out PKK militants.

Protests in Istanbul

On Sunday, more than 200 people in Istanbul protested against curfews and military operations in mainly Kurdish towns in southeastern Turkey.

Protesters called for an immediate resumption of negotiations between the Turkish government and Abdullah Ocalan, the detained leader of the PKK.

The conflict between the PKK and the Turkish government erupted in 1984, leaving more than 40,000 people dead. A two-year ceasefire broke down last July.

The Turkish military said on Saturday that 261 militants have been killed since the operation started in mid-December.

das/cmk (dpa, AFP, AP)

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