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killing civilians by Turkish airstrikes in Kurdistan stir outrage in Iraq

turkish airstrikes in kurdistan

A prominent member of the Iraqi parliament has denounced the silence over Turkish airstrikes on the Qandil Mountains, in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, near the Iraq-Iran border, describing them as serious territorial violations.

MP Ghaleb Mohammed Ali has also condemned the silence of the Iraqi government, and the Kurdistan Regional Government, over these violations of territory, which have caused deaths and injuries.

These come after Turkish airstrikes hit the Qandil Mountains, killing three people and wounded four on Thursday June 27th. According to local sources, the latest Turkish airstrike killed and injured seven civilians, who were all from the same family.

The Turkish Ministry of Defence announced ‘Operation Claw’ to hunt down members of the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), inside Iraqi Kurdistan. Turkish military and intelligence bases were set up in Iraqi Kurdistan since the 1990’s. And the Turkish army established another camp in Baishika, Nineveh, allegedly to fight Isis.

Operation Claw was launched on May 28th, 2019, when Turkish troops backed by tanks, entered the territories of the Iraqi Kurdistan region, penetrating as far as 30 km.

MP Ali said: "This massacre in Mount Kortk is part of the Turkish hostility against the Kurdistan region.” He added: "This is not the first time in which Turkish airstrikes target civilian settings in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. Officials in Baghdad and in Erbil have not taken a clear stance against undermining Iraq’s sovereignty, and the targeting of Iraqi citizens within the Iraqi borders.”

"The Turkish aerial bombardment of populated villages has led to the displacement of hundreds of citizens, damaged farms, livestock, houses and caused death. Recently the strikes targeted water supplies and vital roads,” he said

Ali condemned the Iraqi government’s silence over these violations. He said: "The government that does not defend its citizens is not a good government, and they are maintaining silence because of the interests of the ruling parties with the Turkish government."

However, Ali praised the stance of the Iraqi politician and militia leader, Muqtada al-Sadr, who has spoken out against the Turkish airstrikes, and urged for annulling all the agreements that allow Turkish operations in Iraq. Ali said, "Turkey, to this day, considers Mosul and parts of Iraq as the legacy of the Ottoman Caliphate and treats it as a state of the Ottoman Empire."

A week ago, Turkish warplanes launched raids on areas in Dohuk governorate, causing severe damage to water and electricity networks in these areas, destroying a fuel station and cutting off the main road between the town and the centre of Dohuk.

Last month, Turkish military forces imposed a curfew on 79 villages in the Pradust district of Erbil province, the capital of the Kurdistan region, as well as permanent monitoring of Turkish aircraft in the airspace of the region.

On January 26th, Kurdish protesters in the Dohuk province of Iraqi Kurdistan burned two tanks, and other military equipment, when they stormed a Turkish military base in protest at the killing of four members of the region in a Turkish air strike on January 20.

Two demonstrators were killed, and two wounded by Turkish soldiers, when the demonstrators entered a military base in the province of Dohuk.

Turkey has regularly launched air strikes on the PKK positions, based in Iraq’s Qandil Mountains, near the Iraq-Iran border, and who have been engaged in an armed struggle against the Turkish government since the 1980s, for equal rights and Kurdish autonomy in Turkey.