Seven Kurdish militants killed in clash in southeast: sources

Turkish soldiers patrol in Sur district, which is partially under curfew, in the Kurdish-dominated southeastern city of Diyarbakir, Turkey February 26, 2016. REUTERS/Sertac Kayar

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Seven Kurdish militants were killed in a gun battle in southeast Turkey’s largest city Diyarbakir on Thursday, security sources said, a day after security forces declared an end to operations there.

The clash broke out in the city’s Sur district, parts of which have been devastated in fighting between security forces and Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants since a two-year-old ceasefire collapsed last July.

The sources said special forces police clashed with the militants after they opened fire from a basement in Sur, an area surrounded by UNESCO-listed Roman-era walls, which was placed under round-the-clock curfew on Dec. 2.

The army said on Thursday 279 PKK fighters had been killed in operations in Sur since Dec. 17.

Military operations have also recently wound up in other parts of the mainly Kurdish southeast, most recently in the town of Idil, near the Syrian border. The military said on Wednesday 120 PKK fighters were killed in three weeks of fighting there.

More than 40,000 people have been killed since the PKK launched its insurgency in 1984. The group, which says it is fighting for Kurdish autonomy, is designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and European Union.

Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Angus MacSwan