Hundreds of thousands fled southeast Turkey after conflict in late 2015 - report

Some 400,000 people fled in the aftermath of months of fighting from late 2015 between the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants and the Turkish army, according to a report by the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (TMMOB).

In late 2015, the PKK leaders declared autonomous regions in several cities in Turkey’s Kurdish dominated southeast after the collapse of a two-and-a-half-year peace process. The youth wing of the PKK set off implementing the declaration by digging trenches and establishing barricades to keep the security forces out.

The Turkish army responded with massive military operations on urbanized terrains, conducting house-to-house fighting with tanks, urban assault vehicles and dozens of Special Forces units.

Meanwhile, in 282 villages and neighbourhoods of 12 eastern and southeastern cities, consecutive military curfews were declared.

Some 400,000 escaped from the conflict areas and they were dispossessed due to the Turkish government's development plans in the region, the report said.

When the fighting ended, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) announced its plans for redevelopment in towns that were battered in clashes.

People had faced the demolition and forced migration after their houses were forcibly expropriated through urgent orders, the report said.

Some Kurdish cities and districts in southeastern Turkey, including Diyarbakır's Sur district, Şırnak's Idil and Cizre districts, Hakkari's Yüksekova district and Mardin's Nusaybin district, have been destroyed, the report said. 

Four neighbourhoods were totally destroyed in Cizre and the population of the district dropped to 20,000 from 110,000, according to report.

"We will continue to struggle for the people living in these cities to return to their homes and neighbourhoods," said Herdem Doğrul, one of the contributors of the report.