Military blockade in Kurdish town Lice continues amid growing concerns

Lice, Diyarbakir

The Military curfews and blockade of 18 villages in Turkey’s southeastern town of Lice in Diyarbakir province entered its 11th day today. Around 10,000 Turkish soldiers, police officers and village guards have been mobilised in operations against suspected Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) militants.

Speaking to Kurdish news agencies, the residents of Lice said they wanted operations to end immediately. A villager who spoke on condition of anonymity, told news agencies that entering and exiting villages was forbidden by security forces despite a severe shortage in food and water supplies.

Other villagers also reported incidents of torture by soldiers in the Kurdish populated region. A teenager was hospitalised while 24 people were taken into custody, villagers who had left the town before the curfew said. Concerns regarding the wellbeing of people under curfew and also of livestock is a major issue as people are not allowed to leave their homes, villagers said. A power blackout has been imposed alongside the severing of telephone lines.

Four people were killed and 50 detained last month in a military blockade in Korukoy (Xeraba Bave) village in southeastern district Nusaybin. Pictures of burned homes and animals proliferated on social media leading to accusations of collective punishment by state forces.

The Turkish army has intensified its military campaign against the PKK throughout the winter, both on the ground inside Turkey and through aerial bombardments on the organisation’s bases in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq.