Thirteen killed as Turkish forces clash with Kurdish militants

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (Reuters) - Three Turkish soldiers and 10 Kurdish militants have been killed in two clashes in southeast Turkey, the army said on Thursday, the latest casualties in a revived conflict that has killed hundreds since the collapse of a ceasefire last summer.

In the Dargecit district of Mardin province, near the Syrian border, three soldiers and eight Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighters were killed on Wednesday during security forces’ operations, the army statement said.

Another two PKK militants were killed in the Sur district of Diyarbakir, the largest city in the southeast, where police on Wednesday fired tear gas and water cannon to disperse hundreds protesting against the security operations.

The mainly Kurdish southeast has suffered the worst violence in two decades since the ceasefire fell apart last July, leaving a three-year peace process between Ankara and the PKK in tatters.

Hundreds of militants, security force members and civilians have been killed in the conflict since then.

Diyarbakir’s Sur district has been under lockdown since Dec. 2 as police and soldiers try to root out PKK militants who erected barricades and dug trenches in the neighborhood. A curfew in the town of Cizre was partially lifted on Wednesday.

The PKK, considered a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, launched a separatist armed rebellion against the Turkish state more than three decades ago and more than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

Reporting by Seyhmus Cakan; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by David Dolan and Gareth Jones