Residents of Cizre bury dead after Turkey army curfew
CIZRE (Turkey) - Thousands of relatives and mourners marched through the centre of the mainly-Kurdish city of Cizre on Sunday to bury over a dozen people who lost their lives during a nine-day Turkish army curfew.
The mourners carried the coffins of 16 people draped in the yellow, red and green Kurdish colours to a funeral ceremony before their burial, a photographer reported.
The Turkish government said that up to 32 Kurdish militants were killed during the curfew imposed in Cizre in an "anti-terror" operation against suspected members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
But the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) has said 21 civilians were killed during the operation, which deprived residents of access to essential amenities and triggered food shortages.
It has challenged the government to prove if any militants were killed.
Distraught relatives embraced the coffins which were emblazoned with pictures of the dead, the photographer reported.
Pro-Kurdish media reports said some 100,000 people took part in the funeral ceremony.
According to the pro-Kurdish DIHA news agency, the dead included a baby 35 days old, several teenagers and three men aged 70 or over.
This has not been confirmed by the interior ministry, which says just one civilian was killed in clashes between the army and the PKK.
The authorities early on Saturday lifted the curfew imposed on September 4 and whose unusually duration had sparked international concern.
The operation in Cizre, a city of 120,000 on the border with Syria and close to Iraq, was a key part of the government's drive to cripple the PKK in southeast Turkey and northern Iraq, which started in late July and shows no sign of abating.