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Watchdog: Turkish Onslaught on Kurdish Provinces Puts 200,000 Lives at Risk

© REUTERS / Murad SezerFile Photo: A woman walks past a building which was damaged during the security operations and clashes between Turkish security forces and Kurdish militants, in the southeastern town of Silvan in Diyarbakir province, Turkey, December 7, 2015.
File Photo: A woman walks past a building which was damaged during the security operations and clashes between Turkish security forces and Kurdish militants, in the southeastern town of Silvan in Diyarbakir province, Turkey, December 7, 2015. - Sputnik International
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Tight security rules and cuts to services in Turkey’s Kurdish-populated areas are threatening the lives of some 200,000 residents, a prominent human rights watchdog said Thursday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Round-the-clock curfews and military operations have become a fact of life in eastern and southeastern Turkey since peace process between Ankara and pro-independence militias there broke down in July 2015.

"The operations currently being conducted under round-the-clock curfews are putting the lives of tens of thousands of people at risk and are beginning to resemble collective punishment," Amnesty International Europe and Central Asia Programme Director John Dalhuisen said.

More than 150 civilians are estimated to have been killed during security operations in Kurdish territories under curfew, the watchdog said. In many areas, lack of access to food and medical care, as well as water and power cuts, have put thousands of lives at risk.

Turkish Army vehicles and tanks wait near the Syrian border in Suruc on February 23, 2015 - Sputnik International
Turkish Troops Entered Syria - Kurdish Media
Amnesty cited numerous reports that claimed Turkish security forces were preventing ambulances from entering areas under curfew. In one incident, a body of a man killed during clashes in Silopi was left unburied at the family’s home for 12 days before authorities allowed it to be collected.

The pressure group has called on Turkish authorities to restore communal services, stop siege-like curfews and allow access to the Kurdish territories for independent observers.

The Kurds, Turkey's largest ethnic minority, have been striving to gain independence from Turkey. Tensions in the country escalated in summer 2015 after 33 Kurdish activists were killed in a suicide blast in Suruc near the Syrian border. Two Turkish policemen were later murdered by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which led to Ankara's military campaign against the group.

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