Reports emerge of a possible massacre of close to 60 people by Turkish government forces in a basement in Cizre, a Kurdish town that has been besieged since December 2015
As many as 60 people might have been killed in a basement in the southeastern district of Cizre, according to reports that were originally published by Turkey’s state-run TRT.
“Security forces entered a basement floor in the control of terrorists in Cizre. Close to 60 terrorists have been neutralized,” TRT said late on Feb. 7. The following day, however, the channel removed the news piece from its website.
There are at least two locations with large numbers of injured and deceased people in Cizre, which has been subjected to a siege by Turkish government forces since Dec. 14, 2015. At least seven people have died in one house which has collapsed in the town’s Cudi neighborhood, while nine people burnt to death in another house on Feb. 5. Since then, however, there have been no further reports on the status of survivors in the two locations due to the continuing government siege.
“Two large explosions were heard [in the evening between 17.00 and 18.00]. Afterwards, this claim [regarding the 60 dead] was made,” Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Faysal Sarıyıldız told Sterk TV. “Apart from the nine people who burnt to death and one person who was murdered, we were informed that there are 52 people in the building. As such, it seems that is the building in question. We don’t have precise information, but there might have been such an atrocity. For day, we have sought to transport the injured to hospitals. If such a thing has occurred, it would be a very large massacre.”
The Dicle News Agency (DİHA) reported early Feb. 8 that police had brought the bodies of those injured to the hospital and that they had taken a large number of body bags from the hospital as well.
On the morning of Feb. 8, Sarıyıldız also told the Fırat News Agency (ANF) that news had reached them of 30 burnt bodies bearing no sign of gunshot wounds from close to a gas station, but emphasized that the information had not been confirmed.
Sarıyıldız said the bodies of only seven people were confirmed to have been brought to hospital.
In contrast, the Şırnak Governor’s Office said in a statement that “10 terrorists had been neutralized” in an operation against the “Separatist Terror Organization,” a euphemism the state uses for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Mehmet Tunç, the co-chair of the Cizre People’s Assembly, told Med Nûçe TV on Feb. 7 that it appeared security forces were closing in on the house.
“They’re getting closer. They seem intent on executing us. Yesterday they called on us to surrender; they said they would kill us all,” he said.
Sendika.Org, DİHA, ANF