Turkey Bars Ambulances From Rescuing Trapped Kurds in Basement

At Least 20 Wounded Kurds Trapped in Cellar

The humanitarian nightmare of Turkey’s military curfew against Kurdish towns in the southeast is becoming increasingly public today, with focus growing on a group of wounded Kurdish civilians trapped in a cellar in Cizre for over a week.

There were 28 originally, though at least six have died of their wounds. The rest are still trapped in close quarters, unable to emerge without being immediately attacked by the Turkish military, and with no hope of rescue by ambulances.

Ambulances were keen to go in and rescue the wounded, but they were forbidden by Turkey’s high court, which insisted they couldn’t prove the wounded don’t have weapons. Despite the court making the ban on ambulances very public, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan insisted the report that ambulances couldn’t come in were “lies,” and accusing the Kurds of making up their injuries.

Cizre has been under curfew for six weeks, cut off from all basic utilities, and the target of military snipers if they leave their homes. Human rights groups have condemned the use of open-ended 24-hour curfews in populated areas, and the military’s repeated attacks on civilians trying to flee those areas.

Officially, the Turkish government has labeled everyone killed a “terrorist,” though rights groups have suggested several hundred civilians have been slain across the region.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.