Şırnak clashes (2015–16)

The 2015–16 Şırnak clashes were a series of armed clashes in the southeastern province of Şırnak, between Turkish government forces and Kurdish armed groups, as part of the Turkey–PKK conflict.

2015–16 Şırnak clashes
Part of the third phase of the Turkey–PKK conflict
DateAugust 2015-May 2016[1]
GoalsEstablish autonomous government in Şırnak[2]
MethodsArmed conflict
Urban guerrilla warfare
Resulted inTurkish Government victory[1]
PKK fail to establish autonomous region
Destruction of Silopi and Cizre
Parties to the civil conflict

Kurdistan Communities Union

Lead figures
Turan Bedirhanoğlu[7] Duran Kalkan[8]
Mustafa Karasu[9]
10,000 soldiers[10]
~200 maroon berets[3]
Casualties and losses
600 killed in Cizre ( according to turkey army ) [11]
92 civilians killed in Cizre[11]


Following the 2015 Suruç bombing, the ceasefire between the Turkish government and the PKK ended after the PKK executed two police officers in their sleep on 22 July.[12] In retaliation, the Turkish Air Force began striking PKK camps in Northern Iraq,[13] beginning a new phase of the Turkey–PKK conflict. The re-escalation of the conflict between the PKK and the Turkish government caused a rise of discontent in the Kurdish-majority southeast.

Military action


The first armed incident in Şırnak Province took place on 28 July when the Turkish Air Force bombed PKK fighters in the countryside.[14] The clashes in Şırnak began to escalate following a bomb explosion that damaged a section of the Ceyhan-Kirkuk pipeline within Şırnak Province on July 29[15] and an ambush by the PKK on July 30 which killed 3 Turkish soldiers. On 4 August, PKK forces attacked a guard post in Şırnak Province with an RPG, killing one soldier and injuring another. In a separate incident in the province, a mine killed two soldiers. Turkish F-16s targeting PKK camps in Hakkari Province in an act of retaliation. A PKK bomb explosion killed one civilian in Cizre on 5 August.[16]

On 7 August, Turkish Police clashed with PKK and YDG-H forces in Silopi, Cizre and Uludere and PKK-affiliated militants hijacked a minibus in Beytüşşebap.[17] 4 police officers and 1 army conscript were killed by separate PKK-affiliated attacks in Şırnak Province on 10 August.[18] Turkish forces killed 2 PKK militants following clashes in Beytüşşebap on 13 August.[19] Between 5–10 September, Turkey placed the first curfew on Cizre following an incursion by PKK forces. 30 people were killed during the clashes, HDP leader Selahattin Demirtaş claiming 20 of which were civilians although the Turkish government challenged this claim.[20] Heavy clashes in Şırnak Province took place between 25–26 September, with the PKK claiming to have killed 75 soldiers and losing 14 militants[21] while Turkish forces claimed to have killed 36 militants and lost 2 soldiers.[22]

On 21 November, Turkish Air Force targeted PKK positions in Şırnak Province.[23] On 15 December, Turkish forces launched large scale terror operations in Silopi and Cizre after PKK-affiliated militias set up barricades in the towns. By 17 December, Turkish forces had claimed to have killed between 55–70 PKK militants in the two towns.[24][25] The HDP leader Selahattin Demirtaş called on locals to resist the operations, denounced the government use of forces, and called both the local people and government to find constructive actions.[26] On 31 December, 1 soldier was killed and 5 others injured following a PKK rocket attack.[27]


See also


  1. "PKK Şırnak'tan temizleniyor! Sona gelindi... - Son Dakika Gündem Haberleri". Milliyet. 2016-05-24. Retrieved 2017-02-28.
  2. "Şırnak demokratik özerklik ilan etti - Cumhuriyet Türkiye Haberleri". Cumhuriyet. Retrieved 2017-02-28.
  3. "Turkey deploying special commandos to Cizre - LOCAL". Hurriyet Daily News. Retrieved 2017-02-28.
  4. "Köy korucuları: Kürtleri PKK'dan koruyoruz". Ensonhaber.com. Retrieved 2017-02-28.
  5. "ANF | HPG: Şırnak'ta 11 asker öldürüldü". Anfturkce.net. Retrieved 2017-02-28.
  6. "PKK assassination attempt against Şırnak's appointed administrator prevented". Daily Sabah. 2017-01-31. Retrieved 2017-02-28.
  7. "Özerklik oyununa ağır darbe - Aktüel". Aktuel.com.tr. 2015-08-19. Retrieved 2017-02-28.
  8. "PKK'dan Ankara açıklaması: Hedef çevik kuvvetti". Sputnik NEws. 2016-03-15. Retrieved 2017-02-28.
  9. "Cizre ve Silopi'de 10 bin askerle operasyon: Tanklar ilçe merkezinde - Türkiye Haberleri". Radikal. 2015-12-16. Retrieved 2017-02-28.
  10. "Turkey eases curfew after assault on PKK rebels leaves Cizre in ruins". The Guardian. 2 March 2016. Retrieved 2017-02-28.
  11. Marszal, Andrew (2015-07-22). "Kurdish militants claim 'revenge' killing of two Turkish policemen". Telegraph. Retrieved 2017-02-28.
  12. "Turkey and the Kurds: The truce between Turkey and Kurdish militants is over". The Economist. 2015-07-26. Retrieved 2017-02-28.
  13. "L'armée turque pilonne le PKK dans le sud-est". Le Figaro. 2015-07-28. Retrieved 2017-02-28.
  14. "Oil pipeline blown up in east Turkey". Anadolu Agency. 2015-07-29. Retrieved 2017-02-28.
  15. "Man killed in PKK bomb attack in eastern Turkey". Hurriyet Daily News. Retrieved 2017-02-28.
  16. "Five killed as PKK continues its attacks in Turkey". Hurriyet Daily News. Retrieved 2017-02-28.
  17. "Round-up: At least 6 security personnel killed in attacks in Istanbul, southeast Turkey". Hurriyet Daily News. Retrieved 2017-02-28.
  18. "PKK kills four more soldiers as Turkey faces non-stop violence in east". Hurriyet Daily News. Retrieved 2017-02-28.
  19. "Turkey Kurds: Many dead in Cizre violence as MPs' march blocked". BBC News. Retrieved 2017-02-28.
  20. "PKK: Dozens of Turkish soldiers killed in ongoing clashes". Rudaw. Retrieved 2017-02-28.
  21. "Turkey says scores killed in southeastern clashes". Al Jazeera English. 2015-09-26. Retrieved 2017-02-28.
  22. "Turkish military hits 23 PKK targets in N. Iraq". Daily Sabah. 2017-01-31. Retrieved 2017-02-28.
  23. "Turkish Army kills 55 Kurdish militants during battle, party calls for resistance". Sydney Morning Herald. 2015-12-19. Retrieved 2017-02-28.
  24. "Turkey kills 70 Kurdish militants, vowing to prevent 'chaos'". BBC News. Retrieved 2017-02-28.
  25. "HDP Co-Chair Demirtaş Urges Allout Resistance Against Turkish State Terror And Curfews". Kurdishquestion.com. 21 December 2015.
  26. "Two Turkish police officers killed in southeastern Turkey". Hurriyet Daily News. Retrieved 2017-02-28.
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