Curfew in Sur lifted after 9 days, but re-introduced as of Friday

Three curfews have been imposed on the district of Sur since the killing of Kurdish lawyer and human rights activist Tahir Elci in a shootout on Nov. 28.

Many residents of the district, who say they are fed up with the serious clashes between security forces and members of the Patriotic Revolutionary Youth Movement (YDG-H) — an affiliate of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) — started to leave after the Diyarbakır Governor’s Office announced the end of the second curfew in the district on Thursday night. Numerous local residents took some of their personal belongings and moved to nearby districts or cities.

Images have revealed severe damage to the historic Fatih Pasa Mosque in Sur, which was damaged by fire on Monday as a result of clashes between the PKK and security forces on the sixth day of the previous curfew. The Fatih Pasa Mosque is also known as Kursunlu Mosque.

The mosque, built between 1516 and 1520, caught fire on Monday morning. Calls to the fire department were made around 10 a.m., but firefighters were unable to enter the area for a long time due to security concerns. Calls for firefighters were also made for a few homes in the Sur district, but firefighters were unable to respond.

The same mosque was previously damaged by bullets in October due to clashes. According to media reports, the mihrab (a focal point that indicates the direction of Mecca) of the mosque was completely destroyed in the fire and there are now many more bullet holes.

However, the Diyarbakır Governor’s Office has imposed a new curfew on the district that will take effect as of 4 p.m. on Friday.

In a related incident, PKK terrorists opened fire on a military hospital located in Yenisehir neighborhood in the Yenisehir district on Thursday evening, leading to heavy clashes. According to media reports, the hospital guardhouse was damaged and several windows of the hospital were broken in the attack. A police officer was injured during clashes that erupted following the attack.

PKK terrorists also attacked a police station in Sur with rockets on Thursday evening. Another police officer was injured in this attack. Both the injured police officers are reported to be doing well.

A group of pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) members staged a demonstration in Yenisehir district on Thursday evening to protest the days-long curfews in Sur. However, they were stopped by police, who used tear gas and water cannons against the protesters. The police later took tight security measures in Yenisehir.

Curfews were also imposed in the districts of Dargecit, Derik, Kızıltepe, Nusaybin, Mazıdagı, Omerli and Savur in Mardin province and in Ercis district in Van province as of 6 p.m. on Friday.

PKK kidnaps district governor’s bodyguard in Cizre

PKK terrorists kidnapped a security officer assigned to Cizre District Governor Ahmet Adanur in the Cizre district of Sırnak on Thursday afternoon.

Police officer Ayhan Kaya was kidnapped after members of the YDG-H stopped his car on his way home from a hospital. A large-scale operation is currently underway in the district to rescue Kaya.

In a related incident, the Hakkari Governor’s Office said five PKK terrorists, including a senior member of the organization, were captured during a recent operation conducted in the rural areas of the province. The governor’s office said S.O., a senior PKK member, was among those captured during the operation.

Hundreds of people, members of security forces and civilians, have died since the PKK abandoned its two-and-a-half-year cease-fire in late July.

Turkey began striking PKK targets in southeastern Anatolia and northern Iraq on July 24, after two police officers were executed by the terrorist group, apparently in retaliation for a suicide bombing on July 20 that killed 33 pro-Kurdish activists and was blamed on the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Violence has escalated sharply since then, with the PKK stepping up attacks on security forces in the Southeast. About 200 members of security forces have been killed in the recent violence.