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Animals among victims of southeast Turkey clashes

Thousands of birds and domestic animals are among the victims of ongoing clashes between security forces and Kurdish rebels in southeastern Turkey, where animal rights activists risk death coming to the rescue.
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Boom! Boom! Boom! The crash of artillery fire rarely features in the vocabulary of a parrot, but that is the only sound Heval, a once-loquacious African gray parrot, emits these days. Heval, whose name means “comrade” in Kurdish, was marooned in the heart of Diyarbakir's historic Sur district during three months of bloody clashes between Turkish security forces and Kurdish youths fighting for the urban guerrilla arm of the ethno-nationalist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

“Heval was stuck in Sur for 10 days with no food or water. I was unable to rescue him because of the uninterrupted curfew,” the parrot’s owner, Aladdin Kilic, told Al-Monitor in an interview at his “breakfast salon” in Diyarbakir’s Yenisehir district. “By the time I got to him, he had almost perished from hunger and dehydration. He was picking at his own feathers in a state of extreme stress.” Kilic feeds Heval a pistachio pinched between his own lips before adding, “My boy is on antidepressants now.”

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