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Moscow urges Turkey to allow observers to visit southeastern provinces — foreign ministry

May 19, 17:58 UTC+3
The Turkish law enforcers’ operation was recently condemned by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
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© EPA/SEDAT SUNA

SOCHI, May 19. /TASS/. Moscow urges Turkey to allow observers to visit southeastern provinces, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Thursday.

Turkey was mentioned in the context of the World Humanitarian Summit due to be held in Istanbul on May 23-24.

"Unfortunately, clashes along the Turkish southeastern border and in its southeastern regions have become continuous and, what is more important, bloody," she said. "According to official data, over 300 civilians have been killed in the area of counterterrorism operation since July 2015. Information on more and more new victims comes from the region daily."

"Armed clashes between governmental forces and Kurdish self-defense units are ongoing in other locations," Zakharova said. "Dozens have been wounded. The city of Sirnak has been besieged for over two months."

"In recent days, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has condemned again the Turkish troops’ operation in the country’s southeast and appealed to investigate numerous violations of human rights there," the diplomat said.

Reports came about mass incineration in the town of Cizre, deliberate shelling of civilian population, including women and children, with the use of heavy weapons. Also, there is information about tortures, bans for medics to visit the wounded, destruction of homes and civilian infrastructure, she said.

"These incidents have resulted in forced displacement of a great deal of local residents," Zakharova said.

"We support the High Commissioner’s appeal to Turkey’s authorities to ensure access for independent observers to southeastern regions with the aim to monitor the humanitarian situation," she said. "One should hope that in days of the summit devoted to the humanitarian aspect, the theme of ‘humanitarian arbitrariness’ ongoing in that country would not be swept under the carpet. Coming there high-ranking people will focus their attention, and what is more important Ankara’s attention, on developments in that country."

"In the light of catastrophic consequences of the operation (of Turkish Armed Forces in the country’s southeast), we again call on Ankara to get back as soon as possible to peaceful settlement of the Kurdish crisis," Zakharova said in conclusion.

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