Turkish military forces have continued the heavy shelling of a Kurdish-populated city in the country’s southeastern province of Mardin amid clashes between government troops and members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) there.
Video footage released by Russia’s RT TV network on Thursday showed plumes of smoke rising over Nusaybin, situated 792 kilometers (492 miles) east of the capital, Ankara, following bombardments by Turkish army forces.
The development comes as activists and eyewitnesses say the Turkish army has purportedly used internationally-banned phosphorus bombs in its military campaign against Nusaybin.
Akram Baraka told Syria’s Kurdish news
agency ARA News
that the Turkish army used phosphorus bombs in its attack on the Kurdish city on Tuesday.
“After the bombardments, we saw a pillar of white smoke followed by a black cloud of smoke. Flames leaped from the targeted buildings later on,” he said.
Kurdish activists say Turkish army forces have been bombing residential neighborhoods in Nusaybin with heavy artillery and tanks over the past few months.
“Turkish army forces have burned more than 28 houses of civilians in neighborhoods of Zein al-Abedin and Kanika inside the city,” a local source told ARA News earlier this month.
Around 35,000 civilians trapped in the city since March 14 are reportedly hit by a shortage of potable water, food and medicine as well as complete electricity outage.
There are reports that over 1,000 civilians have been killed ever since the Turkish military started its campaign against Kurdish-populated cities and towns in southeastern Turkey
last July. The Turkish military has also been conducting offensives against the positions of the group in northern Iraq and Syria.
A boy walks in front of the ruins of a building damaged in the fighting between government troops and PKK militants in the Kurdish city of Silopi, southeastern Turkey, on January 19, 2016. ©AFP
A ceasefire between the PKK and the Turkish government collapsed in July 2015 and attacks on Turkish security forces have soared ever since.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that 355 members of the Turkish security forces and over 5,000 Kurdish militants have been killed in operations against the outlawed group.
The operations began in the wake of a deadly July 2015 bombing in the southern Turkish town of Suruc. More than 30 people died in the attack, which the Turkish government blamed on the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.
After the bombing, the PKK militants, who accuse the government in Ankara of supporting Daesh, engaged in a series of supposed reprisal attacks against Turkish police and security forces, in turn prompting the Turkish military operations.