Turkish security forces have killed 32 militants in the country’s mainly Kurdish south-east region at the weekend, army and security sources said, escalating the conflict in the area.
It was one of the bloodiest weekends since the three-decades-old Kurdish insurgency resumed last July, wrecking a peace process launched by Ankara with the jailed leader of the militant Kurdistan Workers party (PKK) in late 2012.
Weekend media reports said prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu told a closed-door meeting of his ruling AK party that security operations and curfews in the region would end within a week, but he said on Sunday there was no such timescale.
The army said 448 militants had been killed in the south-east since the curfews and security operations were launched last month.
“We will pursue our anti-terror fight with great determination until … our mountains, plains and towns are cleansed of these killers,” he said in a televised speech at the end of the meeting.
In the region’s largest city, Diyarbakir, a soldier and a police officer were killed on Sunday when they came under explosives and rifle fire in a clash with rebels in which 14 security personnel were also wounded, sources said.
Gunfire and blasts could be heard echoing around the heavily damaged historical district of Sur where the clash occurred.
Since the PKK launched its insurgency in 1984, fighting has been largely in the countryside, but the latest violence has focused on urban areas, where the PKK youth wing has set up barricades and dug trenches to keep security forces out.