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Thousands in fear of Turkish attack

A place for discussion and exchanging ideas about Kurdistan issues here, also a place for sharing article & views and analysis about Kurdistan .

Thousands in fear of Turkish attack

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Jun 01, 2020 8:57 pm

This land isn’t theirs

Villagers on Kurdish-Turkish border want an end to fighting

At around 9:30am on a hot Saturday morning, Seyid Celal Nuredin, 60, was working with his 30-year-old son, Ahmed, in Duhok's Linkiyan mountains, near the Turkish border. It was then that an airstrike hit, killing the father and son and injuring another farmer.

The bodies of the father and son who lost their lives were buried Sunday in the Derelok district of Amedi. They are the most recent victims of a long and bloody conflict between the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the Turkish state.

Villagers in the borderlands between Turkey and Iraq’s Kurdistan Region say they are caught in the middle of a conflict that little concerns them, and they are paying with their lives.

“Our areas have now become the battlefield of two foreign powers. The PKK and Turkey have nothing to do with us, but they are fighting on our land,” Derelok Governor Sami Usana told Rudaw's Naif Ramadan.

Both the PKK and Turkish forces have had military bases in Duhok province for decades. The rough, mountainous region is home mostly to poor farmers who struggle to earn a living.

These mountains are also home to an untold number of PKK guerrillas, who for years have used the area as a base for operations. But with their presence comes the threat of attacks by Turkish forces, in which civilian deaths have been reported as collateral damage.

Eyup Rezvan, a farmer who witnessed the bombing on Saturday, told Rudaw he was with the two men for three days grazing and collecting grass. “When we reached Birmun village, I told them to go ahead and prepare tea, and I went off toward a bee colony for some honey – then the planes hit,” he said.

When Rezvan turned around, he saw their bodies mutilated by the airstrike. “I carried their corpses on the backs of the animals, buried somewhere, and then came to a place I could get a signal, and then called for help,” Rezvan said.

Northern border areas of the Kurdistan Region are in constant danger of conflict. On May 14, a group of guerrillas attacked a Turkish military outpost in the Kani Masi subdistrict of Duhok province. The ensuing clash lasted for hours, and caused a power outage in the area leaving residents without electricity until downed power lines could be repaired.

The next day, a flurry of rocket fire landed around 400 meters away from the populated area of Kani Masi’s village, leaving villagers "terrified," local government official Sarbast Sabri told Rudaw.

“This situation is continuing year after year, says Usana. “We are calling on the PKK, and on Turkey: this land isn’t theirs, this is the land that our people have lived on.”

https://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan ... s-01062020
Last edited by Anthea on Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:13 pm, edited 9 times in total.
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Thousands in fear of Turkish attack

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Re: Villagers on Kurdish-Turkish border want end to fighting

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Jun 07, 2020 8:53 pm

Bombed by both neighbours:

Kurdistan Region border areas deserted in fear

Upon hearing news that a Turkish airstrike has hit a Duhok district, its mayor rushes to the scene and spots three crying children in a house of shattered windows.

For residents of the Kurdistan Region's border areas, loss and damage to their homes through bombings is nothing new. Their mountains have for decades hosted Turkish military bases, and the camps of Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) guerillas they war with.

"Once, the [Deraluk] village of Barchi was bombed, I immediately rushed to the scene where I found that three children had just woken up to the huge bang of the bombing crying out loud as their room's windows had all smashed," Sami Barwari told Rudaw on Saturday.

The districts of Shiladze, Duhok province and Sidakan, northeast Erbil province have also been bearing the brunt of the PKK-Turkey clashes, with the frequent hover of Turkish aircraft instilling fear in residents.

Once thriving districts are now eerily quiet, as locals fled in large numbers for their safety.

Seventy percent of the area around Deraluk has been designated a war zone by the Kurdistan Regional Government. Of 82 villages, only nine remain populated.

"We are prone for target at any moment," Barwari told Rudaw. In the past two years, six people have been killed and two others have gone missing."

"I have been the mayor of Deraluk for two and a half years now. Every day or week, our sub-district is bombed."

In the aftermath of bombings, the government has found it difficult to "access to reach these areas in order to reconstruct and extend services to them," he added.

Shiladze 'housing crisis'

The villagers of Shiladze have abandoned 85 of 91 villages, district mayor Washin Salman told Rudaw Radio on Saturday. Mass displacement from villages has seen local towns overwhelmed by a "housing crisis", Salman said.

"People can't return to their villages," he said. "If they did, then we wouldn't have a housing issue."

Other displaced villagers who found renting a house inside Shiladze difficult have moved further afield, towards or into the city of Duhok.

Sidakan: bombed by both neighbors

In terms of space, Sidakan is the biggest town across the Kurdistan Region and Iraq, its territory amounting to 1,617 square kilometers. Located in northern Erbil's Soran district, it neighbors both Turkey and Iran. Of its 264 villages, 118 have been emptied.

With the suspected presence of PKK fighters and Iranian Kurdish opposition groups, the region is pounded not just by Turkish airstrikes, but Iranian cross-border artillery shelling too.

Turkish observation posts and military bases are just seven kilometers from the center of Sidakan, district mayor Ihsan Chalabi told Rudaw.

"Very few nights pass without hearing the hover of Turkey's warplanes overhead," Chalabi said.

Since 2017, Turkish bombings have killed five civilians, and wounded another seven in Sidakan, he said. Iranian mortar shelling has killed one and wounded another three in the same time period.

"The last bombing took place two days ago. If there is no bombing for a day, it feels like Eid for people," he said.

The ever-looming possibility of attacks are having a profound effect on the area's young residents, Chalabi added.

"The children are always in a state of fear. Sometimes bombings have happened while students have been in nearby schools, shattering classroom windows and forcing their closure for a week or 10 days," he said.

Local agriculture and farming wilts

The mountains of the Kurdistan Region are home mostly to poor farmers who struggle to earn a living at the best of times.

Fearful abandonment of rural areas has seen agricultural and livestock farming in Shiladze dwindle, though some former villagers risk journeys back along dangerous rural roads to tend to their orchards and groves. Since 2016, 21 civilians have been killed in Shiladze's outlying villages amid Turkey-PKK crossfire, according to its mayor.

In Sidakan, more than 1,000 dunams of farmland were destroyed by Turkish bombings in 2019 alone, Chalabi said.

"The losses vary, burning orchards, groves, and bushes, the killing of sheep and hundreds of horses."

Before Turkey's land presence in Sidakan, nomadic families took to the mountainous outskirts of Sidakan to let their livestock graze on the fertile pastures. With little suitable land left to feed from, shepherding has become a dying practice in the area.

"But since Turkey came to the region in 2017, only 10 to 20 shepherds search for pasture in the area," Chalabi said.

"Lack of pasture and the sale of sheep have left the people of Sidakan desperate for a source of income," he added. "Those families who aren't earning a salary are eyeing support from humanitarian organizations."

Volatility in the area has "dealt a huge blow to apple and walnut produce in Sidakan, to the extent the two are on the verge of perishing."

https://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/07062020
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Re: Villagers on Kurdish-Turkish border want end to fighting

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Jun 15, 2020 2:31 pm

Turkey targets suspected PKK
locations in northern Iraq


Warplanes launched multiple strikes in northern Iraq and the Kurdistan Region to target the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), the Turkish Defense Ministry announced early Monday morning

Dubbed Operation Claw-Eagle, the air campaign is being personally directed by Defense Minister Hulusi Akar. "Our planes are bringing the caves down on the terrorists' heads," the Turkish Defence Ministry said on Twitter.

Suspected PKK locations were targeted in Shingal in Nineveh province, and Makhmour, Qarachogh, Mount Qandil, Khuakurk, and Zap across the Kurdistan Region. Fires brokes out across Shingal and other areas as a result of the airstrikes.

The airstrikes hit a total of 81 targets, including "shelters and caves" according to Turkey's Defence Ministry.

"The operation has been launched in order to ensure the security of the Turkish people and the country's borders by neutralizing the PKK and other terrorist organizations that have been stepping up harassment and attack attempts against the police and military bases," it added.

PKK-linked Firat News Agency claimed the strikes targeted a refugee camp and a hospital
Sadly, it would not surprise me

“The Turkish state has launched a wave of air raids in southern Kurdistan, northern Iraq tonight. The strikes targeted several positions in the regions of Qandil, Maxmur (Makhmour) and Shengal (Sinjar), including a refugee camp and hospital,” it said.

Makhmour camp hosts more than 12,000 Kurdish refugees who have fled persecution by the Turkish state, largely in the 1990s. The camp has a governing council and an armed force, the Makhmour Protection Units, established in 2014 when Islamic State (ISIS) militants attacked the area. The units are believed to have ties to the PKK.

Bedran Pirani, co-mayor of the Makhmour Camp Municipality, told Rudaw that strikes near the camp left several children unconscious, who were then rushed to hospital.

"The airstrikes lasted an hour from 12:10am to 01:10am. They were a large number of unmanned drones and jets hovering overhead," Pirani said.

"The airstrikes was just 50 to 100 meters east of the camp," he said, adding the strikes caused “massive” material damage to the camp surroundings.

Ihsan Chalabani, mayor of Sidakan, northeast of Erbil, said airstrikes targeting Mount Bradost did not kill any civilians.

Reacting to multiple strikes against suspected PKK bases in Shingal, Yezidi activist and Nobel laureate Nadia Murad described her hometown "a war zone.

"Over 150 Yazidi families had just returned to their homes. When will [the Iraqi Government] and the international community apply some courage and political will to resolving security challenges in Sinjar?" Murad tweeted.

Sinune Mayor Naif Saedo confirmed to Rudaw that the strikes wounded at least three members of the Shingal Protection Units, a PKK-affiliated group operating in the area.

One Yezidi living near Mount Shingal told Rudaw the strikes terrified their children but did not result in any casualties.

"Thanks to God, the airstrikes have not caused any human losses among us," the man said.

Turkey regularly carries out airstrikes and ground operations against suspected PKK positions inside the Kurdistan Region.

The PKK is an armed group that fights for greater political rights for Kurds in Turkey.

The PKK and Turkey have fought for decades, leading to thousands of deaths, including civilians. The group is based in the Qandil Mountains along the Turkey-Iran border.

Civilians are routinely caught in the crossfire of the Turkey-PKK conflict.

Both Erbil and Baghdad have repeatedly called on Ankara to halt its attacks and have demanded the PKK withdraw from their territory.

Iraq's defence ministry released a statement on Monday condemning the airstrikes.

“We [Iraqi defense ministry] condemn the Turkish warplanes violation of Iraqi sovereignty that happened yesterday night by 18 Turkish jets targeting areas of Sinjar, Makhmour, Gwer, and Erbil, and they came 193 deep into Iraqi territories from the Turkish border,” Iraq's security media cell tweeted on Monday.

“We call on Turkey to halt these violations and avoid repeating them and respect the bilateral relations between the two countries,” it added.

Turkish ambassador to Baghdad Fatih Yildiz tweeted on Monday that the PKK must be "crushed."

“The PKK is a mutual enemy and we need to crush its head together,” he wrote.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iraq/150620201
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Re: Turkey bombs PKK in Northern Iraq including Shingal

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Jun 19, 2020 12:24 am

Eight villages emptied

Eight villages close to northern Iraq’s border town of Zakho have been emptied out as locals flee under the roar of Turkish airstrikes, Kurdish officials tell Rudaw

Turkey has deployed commando forces four kilometres deep into northern Iraq’s Kurdistan Region, causing residents of eight villages to flee, local authorities in Zakho have confirmed to Rudaw.

The military offensive launched this week, dubbed Operation Claw-Tiger, involves a combined aerial and ground-based assault aimed at targeting suspected positions of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the region.

The villages are located in Batifa, a small subdistrict in the Sinat-Haftanin mountainous district near the city of Zakho, close to the Turkish border. In Keshan, one of the villages now empty, residents have abandoned their properties, fearing the aerial bombardment.

"We have brought our family members here to Zakho. Around three to four bombs fell right behind our village on Tuesday night," Salim Khawaja, whose family makes a living on sheep, told Rudaw. "We could not take our sheep out for gazing."

Although farmers are not party to the conflict, they risk losing out on their livelihood, as their farmlands are their only source of income.

"We are around 15 families living in the village, Turkey's bombings continued through last night,” Hashim Omer, a resident of Keshan village, told Rudaw on Wednesday. “We were forced to abandon our homes. Just some of them who have sheep have stayed. If the situation continues like it is now, they will leave as well."

Both the PKK and Turkish forces have had military bases along the Turkey-Iraq border decades. The rough, mountainous region is home mostly to poor farmers who struggle to earn a living. These mountains are also home to an untold number of guerrillas of the PKK, who for years have used the Qandil Mountains area as a base of operations. But with their presence comes the threat of attacks by Turkish forces, which have frightened and sometimes threatened local villagers.

"This is not the right thing they do against us. We are poor people. Our livelihood is in our village. We beg them to stop," said Isa Osman, an elderly resident who has moved with family members to the nearest city center, Zakho, to wait for hostilities to cease.

An Iraqi border official in Zakho told Rudaw that they have already expressed their anger over Turkish ground and air offensive in the region, claiming that Turkey has not coordinated with Iraq’s security forces.

"We were not informed of the attack," Diler Farzanda Zebari, commander of Border Force One, told Rudaw on Wednesday, adding the region has become a "prohibited zone" because of the presence of the PKK and Turkish forces.

Over the past two years, 35 out of 75 villages in Batifa have seen their populations thin out and empty due to fighting in the region.

Both Erbil and Baghdad have called on Ankara to halt attacks on its territory, while also demanding that the PKK withdraw.

Baghdad summoned its ambassador to Turkish to protest the airstrikes on Tuesday, issuing him a formal memorandum, according to Iraq's foreign ministry.

"This invitation, like the previous ones, was a new occasion to emphasize that we will continue to fight the PKK wherever it is, unless Iraq takes steps to end the PKK presence in its country,” Ambassador Fatih Yildiz tweeted after the meeting.

For decades now, Turkey regularly carries out airstrikes and ground operations against suspected PKK positions inside the Kurdistan Region, at times killing civilians in the region.

The PKK is an armed group that has been at war with the Turkish state since the 1980s to win greater political rights for Kurds in Turkey. Decades of bloody fighting has claimed thousands of lives, including civilians on both sides of the conflict. A brief period of respite came between 2013, when leaders in Ankara and Qandil entered into peace talks, which eventually broke down and hostilities resumed.

"The operation has been launched in order to ensure the security of the Turkish people and the country’s borders by neutralizing the PKK and other terrorist organizations that have been stepping up harassment and attack attempts against the police and military bases," the Turkish Defense Ministry said in a statement at the launch of its offensive.

The Kurdistan Region’s foreign relations department did not respond to requests for comments by Rudaw English. No civilian casualties have yet been reported as part of Operation Claw-Tiger.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan ... ty18062020
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Re: Turkey bombs PKK in Northern Iraq including Shingal

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Jun 20, 2020 12:10 am

KRG calls on Turkey to
respect its sovereignty


The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) called on Turkey late Friday to “respect” its sovereignty amidst a Turkish military offensive in the Kurdistan Region in pursuit of suspected positions of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)

“We are monitoring the incidents today and the previous days on the border areas with concern. They [the incidents] have caused casualties and material losses to the civilians and villagers of these areas,” reads a statement released late Friday from KRG spokesperson Jutiar Adil, which also demanded that the PKK leave the Region’s territory.

Turkey launched an aerial and ground operation against the PKK this week in the Kurdistan Region, as well as areas disputed between Erbil and Baghdad. The operation has killed at least five civilians - including four in Duhok province and one in Erbil province.

“We call on the Republic of Turkey to respect the sovereignty of our land and homeland, and the PKK must leave these areas in order not to cause chaos on the Kurdistan Region’s bordering areas,” adds Adil.

Friday’s statement is the first official word from the KRG on Turkey’s latest offensive, which has also claimed the life of a Turkish soldier on Friday.

The Iraqi government has readily spoken out against Turkey’s latest offensive, summoning Turkey’s ambassador Fatih Yildiz twice this week in protest of what they call Turkish violations of Iraq’s “sanctity and sovereignty.”

The KRG “condemns anyone for any reason if they martyr and harm people,” reads the statement that does not explicitly condemn the Turkish offensive.

The statement also claims the KRG desires to have “friendly” relations with its neighbors, and does not want its territory to be used as a base to attack surrounding countries.

The Turkish Defense Ministry tweeted a video claiming it killed three PKK fighters in an airstrike on Friday.

Turkish defense minister, Hulusi Akar, and a number of other military commanders visited Sirnak province on Turkey's borders with the Kurdistan Region. He visited the families of three workers killed by roadside bomb allegedly placed by the PKK, according to a statement from the ministry.

"Currently, thousands of soldiers are on mountains and plains, chasing terrorists ... These traitors will account for treacherous attacks. They are all looking for holes to escape. I hope this work will be over,” said the minister to locals during his visit.

For decades, both the PKK and Turkish forces have set up military installations along the Turkey-Iraq border. The rough, mountainous region is home mostly to poor farmers who struggle to earn a living. These mountains are also home to an untold number of guerrillas of the PKK, who for years have used the Qandil Mountains area as a base of operations. Turkey regularly carries out air and ground attacks against the outlawed PKK, which it says maintains bases in northern Iraq.

Civilians have been repeatedly caught in the crosshairs of Turkey’s conflict with the PKK, and many have fled their villages under the roar of air strikes. Eight villages have been emptied of their residents along northern Iraq’s border with Turkey, near the Kurdistan Region border town of Zakho.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/19062020

I think that both the Turkish savages and the PKK should leave Iraq

The PKK should be doing something more constructive than hiding in KRG caves

They should have moved into the caves at Hasankeyf and saved the area for the future of Kurdistan
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Re: KRG calls on Turkey to respect its sovereignty NO CHANCE

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Jun 22, 2020 12:22 pm

Turkish bombings in Duhok

A high-level Iraqi military delegation arrived in Duhok province on Monday to investigate the aftermath of this week's Turkish military operations in the area

Led by the head of the Iraqi border guard brigade Lt. Gen. Hamid Abdullah, the delegation consists of other Iraqi military commanders, as well as intelligence service officials, an Iraqi military official told Rudaw. Delegation members are visiting the sites of the Turkish airstrikes, and plan to meet with Duhok province officials including its governor.

“Today we visited the Beresveman area on the Zakho border,” Border Guard commander Dler Zebari told Rudaw on Monday.

“We will meet with the governor and other officials of Duhok province today [Monday],” Zebari said.

The delegation, which is working in coordination with the Kurdistan Region's interior ministry, is to provide Iraqi premier Mustafa al-Kadhimi with a report detailing its findings.

The Kurdistan Region's border areas have come under fire from both Turkish and Iranian strikes over the past week, as part of a military offensive with the stated aim of targeting suspected Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) positions in the region. Turkey's Operation Claw-Eagle aerial assault began on June 15, while an accompanying ground campaign, Operation Claw-Tiger, began on June 17.

Five locals are confirmed to have been killed by the Turkish airstrikes, including four civilians in Duhok province and one shepherd in Erbil province's Sidakan region, bordering Iran.

Details of “all the losses and impact of the Turkish operation's bombings on locals will be handed over to the delegation,” Botan Muhsin, Mayor of Zakho in northern Duhok province told Rudaw on Monday.

Turkish ambassador to Iraq Fatih Yildiz was summoned twice by Iraq's foreign ministry to answer for Turkey's air and ground campaigns since their beginning. It is hoped the investigation's findings will compel Iraq to act further to end Turkey's operations, Muhsin said.

Currently based in the Qandil Mountains along the Turkey-Kurdistan Region-Iran border, the PKK is an armed group that has fought a decades-long battle with Ankara for greater political rights for Kurds in Turkey. Ankara regularly carries out airstrikes and ground operations against suspected PKK positions inside the Kurdistan Region.

At least eight villages near Zakho have been emptied of their residents due to the Turkish operation, local officials told Rudaw on Thursday.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/220620201
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Re: KRG calls on Turkey to respect its sovereignty NO CHANCE

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Jun 22, 2020 11:07 pm

9 ISIS jihadists blown up

Nine fugitive ISIS jihadists are blown up in airstrikes by US-led coalition which obliterated four of their camps in Iraq

Aircraft belonging to the US-led coalition took out a gang of terrorists in a rural part of Iraq which is a 'known hiding place' for ISIS supporters, the US military said.

Five terrorists died when three camps were destroyed in Wadi al-Shai on Friday while a second strike wiped out four extremists in a 'cave' in Ninewah, officials said.

ISIS lost its last patch of territory in March 2019 but some of its loyalists are still hiding in the deserts and mountains of Iraq and Syria.

US Army spokesman Myles B. Caggins said ISIS followers were being left 'dazed and disillusioned' as their leaders were captured and killed.

Caggins said the ISIS hideout in Ninewah had been 'blasted' by coalition jets 'at the request' of the Iraqi military last Friday.

In Wadi al-Shai, three camps were destroyed after the jihadists were tracked down in 'densely-vegetated austere terrain'.

Terrorists have been pushed into the wilderness because Iraqi citizens refuse to harbour them in places recently liberated from ISIS control, the US military says.

Coalition airstrikes 'help destroy ISIS targets in terrain difficult to reach by standard vehicles,' Caggins said of the Wadi al-Shai strike.

'Blowing up ISIS hideouts in bucolic locations ultimately results in security in cities and villages,' he said.

Each airstrike 'is conducted at the request of the Government of Iraq to help achieve a permanent defeat of Daesh,' he said, using another name for ISIS.

Caggins told military website Stars and Stripes that five ISIS militants were believed dead after the Wadi al-Shai strike while another four were killed in Nineveh.

An F-15E Eagle fighter jet carried out the strikes in Wadi al-Shai, he added.

The US military warned that more ISIS leaders and operatives were still hiding in the desert after their 'safe havens' were destroyed.

The coalition says it has also 'significantly disrupted and degraded ISIS propaganda operations, finance, and human trafficking networks'.

The terror group's supposed 'caliphate' crumbled to nothing when its last enclave of Baghouz fell to US-backed Kurdish forces in Syria last March.

ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi subsequently died during a US raid in Syria in October 2019.

Thousands of men, women and children linked to ISIS are being held in prisons and detention camps in northern Syria, sparking periodic fears of a breakout.

Many European countries have been reluctant to bring home citizens of theirs who left for the Middle East to join ISIS.

Europeans comprise a fifth of the roughly 10,000 ISIS fighters held captive in Syria by Kurdish militias, it is believed.

US officials warned earlier this year that ISIS was continuing low-level attacks and had not lost its 'freedom of movement or ability to hide and transport fighters and supplies in Iraq's desert and mountainous terrain.'

The continued US presence in Iraq came under pressure earlier this year amid tensions over the American air strike which killed Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.

Iraq’s parliament voted in January for the departure of foreign troops from the country, and the US says it will 'continue reducing forces from Iraq'.

Western military trainers are expected to remain in Iraq to assist the fight against ISIS, but it is not clear how many.

The United States has had around 5,000 troops stationed in the country, and coalition allies another 2,500.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/articl ... ayer_click
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Re: KRG calls on Turkey to respect its sovereignty NO CHANCE

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Jun 23, 2020 11:59 pm

Turkey wants to complete
what the ISIS failed to do


Under the pretext of PKK presence, Turkey is currently carrying out a ground and air invasion in Southern Kurdistan

However, in view of the locations of the Turkish bases on occupied hills in the northern mountainous regions of Southern Kurdistan, the border lines of Misak-ı Millî (National Pact) are clearly visible. This National Pact was supposed to mark the new borders of the Turkish state after World War I in the negotiations with the victorious powers over the Ottoman Empire - the old provinces of Mosul (today's South Kurdistan up to the Kurdish city of Sulaymaniyah on the Iranian border) and Aleppo (besides the region of Aleppo the whole of Rojava/North and East Syria) were supposed to belong to the Turkish territory in addition to Batumi and Thrace.

Similar to Northern Syria, the PKK is again only an excuse for the Erdoğan government to annex foreign land to its own national territory. Ankara is not hiding the fact that the Turkish state wants to establish a 35 to 40-kilometre-wide "buffer zone" and that this occupation is not meant to be temporary anyway.

Murat Karayilan, the commander-in-chief of the central headquarters of the People's Defence Forces (HPG), who is also a member of the Executive Council of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), drew attention to this in a recent special programme on current developments in the region on Stêrk TV (some excerpts from the programme can be found here). Karayilan also pointed out that the Yazidi settlement area Shengal (Sinjar) is wanted to be equally occupied. For some time now, Ankara has been referring to both Shengal and the UN-protected Maxmur refugee camp in the district of the same name, southwest of the capital of the South Kurdistan autonomous region of Hewlêr (Erbil), as "military camp" and "retreat space" of the PKK. Murat Karayilan said: "There is a small contingent of defense forces near Maxmur that protects the local population from ISIS attacks. Only a few months ago, the ISIS attacked Maxmur. Two jihadists were killed, and one member of the defence forces was killed. This is a small unit that defends Maxmur in case of a threat. The contingent therefore does not constitute a force to be bombed with airplanes."

No PKK presence in Shengal :ymdevil:

"In Shengal on the other hand we have no forces. It is claimed that YBŞ is identical with PKK, this is not true. Firstly, I would like to point out that it wasn't the PKK that drove the Peshmerga out of Shengal. This claim is presented in order to legitimize the attacks, but it is not true. This approach is also fundamentally wrong. What would have happened in Shengal if we had not intervened selflessly? At least 100,000 people from our Yazidi community would probably have been massacred, the roots of Yazidism would have been wiped out. We don't ask to be thanked for this, after all it is our people we have protected. We even took this step too late, for which we are taking ourselves very hard to judge. There are, however, some people, including Yazidis, who nevertheless hold us in contempt and are hostile towards us. If it were not for us, there would be no one left there today. We opened up a corridor and led 150,000 people into Rojava. Have we committed a sin by doing so? There is a proverb, " redde caesari quae sunt caesaris” [Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's].”

How did the Peshmerga leave Shengal?

When the ISIS invaded Shengal in August 2014, the Peshmerga of the KDP-led government in Hewlêr (Erbil) withdrew and left the Yazidis defencelessly in the hands of the ISIS. Those who were able to flee sought the way into the mountains. There, twelve PKK guerrilla fighters first protected the entrance to the Jabal Shengal area and prevented the jihadists from entering. From the mountains at the Turkish-Iraqi border in Northern Kurdistan and from Rojava, more guerrilla fighters and members of the People's and Women's Defense Units YPG/YPJ rushed up with heavy weapons three days later. Through their established escape corridor, 50,000 people were able to reach Rojava already in the first days of the genocide.

"After we intervened in Shengal, we later opened the corridor for the Peshmerga as well. In 2017, the independence referendum was held, as a result of which the Iraqi army, at the instigation of Turkey, became active in Kirkuk and Shengal. The Peshmerga Command stationed in Shengal then sought to talk to our friends. They wanted to give up their positions in the city and join our friends in the mountains. We were informed of this and our reply was: 'Okay, let them hold the positions together. When the Iraqi army comes, just tell them that they are will not be fighting them, but that they hold their positions’. The Peshmergas actually joined our friends in the mountains and only two hours later, on the orders of the Peshmerga commander, they withdrew in the middle of the night. They thanked us and even asked if they could leave the region via the corridor to Rojava- as they had done in Shengal case- because the Iraqi army held the way leading to Rabia. We said, let's wait for the next morning and talk first with the friends from the YPG. Shortly after, it was said that the Iraqi military had cleared a path for the Peshmerga, through which they finally left Shengal".

Guerrilla withdrew in 2018

The guerrillas stayed for a while, Karayilan noted and continued: "When the Iraqi troops arrived [in Shengal], they saw our posts. We said: 'We don't want to fight you, but we won't give up our positions'. Then there were negotiations on the basis of dialogue - so there was no war between us. My point is that we didn't drive anyone away from Shengal This is how it happened in October 2017. Then in April 2018 we withdrew our forces from Shengal, even though nobody asked us to do so. We realized that we were no longer needed there. Iraq was represented again and YBŞ existed, which could take care of the security and defense of their region. Therefore the HPG withdrew completely from Shengal. None of us stayed."

YBŞ members are portrayed as PKK fighters

“A deadly air raid by Turkish fighter jets killed [on 15 January 2020] the YBŞ commander Zerdeşt Şengalî, his brother Şervan Cîlo and his friends Hemîd and Êzdîn; the precious sons of Shengal. However, only an hour after this attack, a person named Heydar Şeşo said on TV that an attack on a PKK quarter had taken place. Were these young people not Yazidis? Why are portraying them as “PKK fighters” and make them into a target? By presenting all the young people who organise themselves under the umbrella of YBŞ as PKK members, they are being made into a target. People like these lack conscience and dignity. There is also a former district governoe who is constantly saying somewhere that the PKK is still represented in Shengal and that there is a security problem because of this. I propose that an independent delegation go and form its own view of the situation on the ground.”

Yazidis need their own defence, administration and autonomy

"In Shengal there is only the YBŞ/YJŞ. When we sent twelve of our friends there in the beginning, they got to know the people. Of course, we already knew the Yazidi people and also the youth who resisted the Firman [genocide] together with our fighters. One of them was Zerdeşt, the other was Berxwedan. He was killed in battle at that time. Under the impression of the war, they founded their own organization and called it YBŞ. We supported them, trained them, because we wanted them to form their own force. There is only one thing that counts for us: the people in Shengal, as an organised society, should take care of their own defence and administration and have an autonomous status. In this sense we are always with the Yazidi people and Shengal. This community has suffered at least 73 genocides, no matter where there are Yazidis, we will stand by them. It's a question of mentality, but it doesn't mean that all Yazidis are members of our party.”

YBŞ are deliberately targeted

"Today there are tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of Arab people who are adopting the ideas of Rêber Apo [Abdullah Öcalan]. We know of even more determined Apoists in Baghdad and Basra. In Argentina there are Apoists and Apoist youth movements that are organizing themselves. They also exist in Pakistan. Rêber Apo has presented humanity with a new paradigm, an alternative. Not everyone who shares this philosophy is a PKK member. Such circles, which portray the YBŞ to be alleged PKK fighters, deliberately make the Yazidi youth of Shengal a target. They are people who do not want the Yazidi people to defend and administer themselves. In the meantime, the Yazidis have developed friendly relations with the Arab people, based on the perspective of a democratic nation. Many eminent Arab revolutionaries have joined the ranks of YBŞ, thus helping to make the resistance units grow and become stronger. This makes certain people uncomfortable."

Some Kurds are instrumentalized

"We had some Yazidi members from Armenia and Russia. Some of them fought in our ranks for eight years, others even ten years in the Zagros Mountains and Botan. When the last genocide against Yazidis took place, they wanted to counter the genocide and expressed the desire to participate in the defense of their people. Some of them are now commanders of YBŞ. Although this is common knowledge, I do not want to mention any names now. However, if it is absolutely necessary, they could be named too. The names of these few people, which everyone knows, are now appearing on certain lists ["terror lists" of the Turkish government]. Zekî Şengalî was murdered in this way, and now these friends are wanted to suffer the same fate. Will the YBŞ disappear from the scene when these people are no longer among us? They may be former PKK members, but now they are members of the YBŞ.

Turkish state has already deployed forces in the Bashika region. So, Turkey sets its eyes on Shengal and openly targets it. In principle, they wanted to smash Shengal via the ISIS option because they consider the region to be within the borders of the National Pact. Unfortunately, there are some Kurds who are instrumentalized for the policy of the fascist Turkish state. I hope for their sake that they will soon understand this plan and give it the cold shoulder. They should refrain from targeting the Yazidi people in Shengal and its autonomous structures."

The Turkish state wants to complete what the ISIS did not succeed

"Another attention-grabbing detail is that with Shengal and Maxmur, the locations are now being targeted by the Turkish state's hets, which the ISIS had previously wanted to destroy by genocide. The goal is the same. Here it becomes clear once again that the Turkish state wanted to smash first Shengal, then Maxmur and then the whole region of Southern Kurdistan and its federal system by the hand of the ISIS. But the ISIS was defeated, so this plan did not succeed. Now Turkey is implementing it itself. This is the reality. And one more small hint: When the ISIS attacked Southern Kurdistan, the regional government, especially the KDP, asked Turkey for support. But the hoped-for help was denied to the KDP. It was anyway Turkey’s plan to eliminate the status of Southern Kurdistan by means of ISIS.”
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Re: Turkey should respect its sovereignty and STOP bombing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Jun 24, 2020 12:53 pm

8 days of air strikes in a row

Turkish aircraft have resumed airstrikes on the Kurdistan Region's Duhok province earlier Tuesday morning against suspected Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets, forcing locals from two villages to flee their homes

"Since 5 am in the morning, Turkey has been bombing Mount Khamter and its surrounding areas [in Darkare] with their artillery and airstrikes," Zervan Musa, mayor of Darkare, told Rudaw Tuesday afternoon, adding that "23 missiles and mortars have landed in the region."

"The roaring and hovering of warplanes and mortars have terrified the people of the region," Musa added.

The Kurdistan Region's border areas have come under fire from both Turkish and Iranian strikes over the past eight days, as part of a military offensive with the stated aim of targeting suspected PKK positions in the region. Turkey's Operation Claw-Eagle aerial assault began on June 15, while an accompanying ground campaign, Operation Claw-Tiger, began on June 17.

Civilians have borne the brunt of the massive Turkish offensive. Since June 15, five locals have been killed by the Turkish airstrikes, including four civilians in Shiladze and Kani Masi towns in Duhok and one in Erbil province's Sidakan region, bordering Iran.

Dilsher Abdulsatar, mayor of Batifa sub-district, said Tuesday's bombings have resulted in locals from the two villages of Kashane and Shilame fleeing out of fear for their lives.

"There are 15 families from Kashane, and nine families from Shilame. They have taken shelter in the house of their relatives in Batifa center and other surrounding villages," he added.

Darkare and Batifa are small sub-districts located in the Sinat-Haftanin area, which lay along the Qandil mountains near the Turkish border. The PKK, an armed group that has fought a decades-long battle with Ankara for greater political rights for Kurds in Turkey, is currently based in the mountain range that spans across the Turkey-Kurdistan Region-Iran border. Ankara regularly carries out airstrikes and ground operations against suspected PKK positions inside the Kurdistan Region.

The residents of a total of ten villages in Zakho have now fled the Turkish military operation over the past eight days.

Murat Karayilan, a senior PKK leader and member of the group's executive body, told the party-affiliated Sterk TV on Monday, that the armed group will not be withdrawing from Haftanin.

"The enemy has its techniques and may possibly capture certain locations in Haftanin, but they cannot control everywhere. Wherever they capture, they must pay the price and they must die with it. We will show resistance in any place they go to... We will show them a historical resistance and our comrades have vowed for that end," said Karayilan.

Batifa mayor Abdulsatar added that locals from a third village, Banka, are believed to have fled as well, fearing the constant bombings.

Turkey has defended its past operations in the Kurdistan Region and northern Iraq, saying neither the Iraqi government nor the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) have acted to remove PKK insurgents from the area.

On Monday, a high-level Iraqi military delegation visited the site of the Turkish bombings in Duhok province to investigate the aftermath of the week-long Turkish military operations in the area.

The delegation, which is working in coordination with the KRG's interior ministry, is to provide Iraqi premier Mustafa al-Kadhimi with a report detailing its findings.

Details of "all the losses and impact of the Turkish operation's bombings on locals will be handed over to the delegation," Botan Muhsin, Mayor of Zakho in northern Duhok province told Rudaw on Monday.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/230620202
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Re: Turkey continues airstrikes on Zakho for 8 days in a row

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Jun 24, 2020 12:59 pm

What does Turkey want to capture

While lumbered with economic crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic and tension between its major political parties, the Kurdistan Region was the primary target of two Turkish operations against alleged Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) bases

Turkey, too, is suffering from the economic and social fallout of the pandemic, as well as domestic political tension – so what exactly does it hope to gain from its cross-border operations?

Ankara launched air campaign Operation Claw-Eagle against suspected PKK positions in the Kurdistan Region and northern Iraq on June 15. Its air forces have hit scores of targets in the Kurdistan Region’s Haftanin, Zap, Gara , Avasin-Basyan, Qandil and Khuakurk areas, as well as the disputed towns of Shingal and Makhmour, both home to significant populations of refugees and the internally displaced.

Two days later, Turkey launched the ground-based Operation Claw-Tiger in Haftanin, involving the airdrop of commando force members into the Haftanin area of Duhok province. A further dispatch of Turkish commandos into the Kurdistan Region was made on June 21.

Turkish airstrikes killed at least five civilians in Duhok and Erbil provinces in two days beginning June 18. Ankara has announced the deaths of several PKK fighters, as well as two of its own soldiers. The PKK has not acknowledged Ankara-announced casualties to its own fighters, but claims to have killed several Turkish soldiers and downed at least two helicopters.

Turkey’s defense ministry claimed in its first statement after Claw-Eagle’s launch that the offensive came after PKK “attacks on our military bases and regions increased day after day.” It also more broadly claimed that the PKK has “threatened the security of our people and borders.”

Pointing to more long-term aims from Ankara, the PKK claimed in a June 17 statement that the aim of the Turkish offensive is to invade its headquarters in a region on the Iraq-Iran-Turkey border known as the Medya Defense Areas, “following the occupation concept it is developing.”

Over a week since Claw-Eagle began, neither Turkey nor the PKK look ready to relent. Turkey conducted airstrikes on Zakho, Duhok province for the eight day in a row on Wednesday, while Murat Karayilan, the PKK's second most senior leader, vowed to continue countering Ankara's campaigns.

"We will show resistance in any place they go to... We will show them a historical resistance and our comrades have vowed for that end," Karayilan told the PKK-affiliated Sterk TV on Monday.

Rehabilitating a strongman image

Amid blows dealt by economic crisis and coronavirus, and international scrutiny of its involvement in the Libyan and Syrian conflicts, military operations against a PKK vilified in the national conscience for decades serve as an opportunity to reinforce a strongman image for an increasingly worn out Turkish public.

For Aykan Erdemir, Senior Director at of the Turkey Program at the Washington-based nonpartisan, Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) research institute, Ankara’s manicured presentation of the operation’s launch is to serve as a boost to a dented domestic image.

“Ankara's publicity campaign featuring well-curated photos of the Turkish defense minister and the military's top brass was a sign that there was also a significant domestic motivation for the operation,” Erdemir told Rudaw English.

The timing of the operation strikes Erdemir as significant, with the anniversary of a July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt blamed on former Erdogan ally Fethullah Gulen looming.

“In the run up to the fourth anniversary of Turkey's failed coup attempt and right before the restart of the highest-profile coup trial following a COVID-19 hiatus, Operation Claw-Eagle has also served to bolster the defense bureaucracy's tarnished image,” added Erdemir.

Among those targeted in Erdogan’s extensive post-coup crackdown on political opposition is the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), a pro-Kurdish, left-leaning party that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has accused of ties to the PKK since the party’s inception.

The HDP vehemently denied any links to the coup, but four years on, the party is subject to waves of crackdown that include its democratically-obtained gains.

Ankara has removed most of the HDP’s 59 mayors elected in 2019 local elections, with over 20 detained for their alleged links to the PKK. The party held a five-day, cross-country march in protest of the crackdown earlier this month.

Anti-PKK operations alongside the target of the HDP for alleged terror links serves to homogenize Turkey’s Kurdish issue, Erdemir said.

“When coupled with the Turkish government's ongoing attempts to criminalize the pro-Kurdish HDP and remove its elected members from office, Operation Claw-Eagle is yet another sign that Ankara has re-embraced its failed strategy from the 1990s of reducing the Kurdish question solely to a counter-terrorism matter and ignoring the complex political, economic, social, and cultural, and dimensions.”

However, Oytun Orhan from the Ankara-based Center for Middle Eastern Studies (ORSAM), believes that Ankara’s operations are detached from domestic political developments.

“Fight against terrorism is not directly related with internal politics. It is about security issues … PKK is Turkey’s main security problem and will fight against it regardless of the governments and domestic political issues,” he said.

    Timing of the operations is not necessarily tied to events in Turkish politics, but to the PKK’s annual propulsion of its military activities in spring and summer, Orhan suggested.
Two long at-odds Kurdish political groups appear to inching closer to political agreement in northeast Syria, an area known to Kurds as Rojava.

In a milestone development, the ruling Democratic Union Party (PYD) and opposition Kurdish National Council (ENKS/KNC) reached an initial political agreement last week – much to Turkey’s chagrin.

Ankara has branded the PYD as the Syrian extension of the PKK, and claims that unity talks involving the former are “legitimizing” the latter.

Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has twice expressed his country’s opposition to the talks, warning it will treat the ENKS with the same animosity it doles out to the PYD if the two Rojava parties reach a final deal.

Turkey has felt compelled to act on its disapproval of developments on the other side of its southern border, according to Erdemir.

“The timing of the Turkish military operation, which coincided with the initial agreement between the KNC and the PYD in northeast Syria, shows that it is as much a political message to various Kurdish political actors in the region as it is an assault against the militants of the outlawed PKK,” he said.

Orhan agrees that the PYD-ENKS talks are a motivating factor in its air and ground operations in the Kurdistan Region.

“Turkey is disturbed by these negotiations. So with this operation, Turkey also gives a message to actors who are in contact with the PKK,” Orhan said.

How long, what scope?

Turkey appears not to be budging from its operational stance. Iraq’s foreign ministry has twice summoned Turkish Ambassador Fatih Yildiz to protest the operations, but Yildiz told Turkish state-owned Anadolu Agency (AA) on June 16 that his country is “concerned that Iraq has not taken any concrete steps to remove the PKK from its land.” He claimed that their operations are in the framework of “the right to self-defense.”

Orhan situates Turkey’s current operation within years of military operations in the Kurdistan Region, and believes Ankara’s cross-border campaigns will continue for as long as the PKK remains in the Kurdistan Region and the rest of Iraq.

“This operation is the continuation of previous cross border attacks between 2015-2019. And probably, will continue until PKK continues to exist in Iraq,” he said.

Turkish presence and operations in the Kurdistan Region seem as though they won’t just be continuing at current levels, but expanding. An unnamed senior Turkish official told Reuters on June 18 that Ankara plans to establish new temporary military bases to “prevent the cleared regions from being used for the same purpose again. There are already more than 10 temporary bases there. New ones will be established."

The current operation will continue “for as long as necessary, until it reaches its objective,” the official added.

A push of the core of the PKK-Turkey conflict beyond its borders comes first for Ankara, before any elimination of the PKK from the Kurdistan Region, US-based analyst Ceng Sagnic told Rudaw English – making it likely Turkey will be conducting operations in the Kurdistan Region for the long haul.

“Turkish strategy has the export of the conflict with PKK to beyond its borders, namely the Kurdistan Region, as a priority; and that success in the effective elimination of the PKK presence in the Kurdistan Region comes second. These operations are designed to transfer the epicenter of the conflict to Iraqi Kurdistan,” Sagnic said.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/analysis/24062020
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Re: Turkey continues airstrikes on Zakho for 8 days in a row

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Jun 24, 2020 9:11 pm

Turkey launches major attack
on Kurdish militants in Iraq


Ground and air operation targets 150 suspected PKK positions, Ankara says

Turkey has launched a major joint air and ground operation against Kurdish militants over the border in northern Iraq, a move that suggests Ankara is growing bolder in its campaign against the decades-old Kurdish insurgency.

Special forces were airlifted and deployed overland to the border region of Haftanin in the early hours of Wednesday for Operation Claw-Tiger. The campaign targeted 150 suspected Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK) positions and was supported by jets, helicopters, drones and artillery, the Turkish defence ministry said.

The attack follows Operation Claw-Eagle overnight on Monday, a major bombing campaign on 81 suspected PKK installations across the region, including in the Yazidi homeland of Sinjar and the Qandil mountains, the traditional PKK stronghold.

Despite the unprecedented scale and scope of the Turkish operations inside Iraqi territory, no civilian or combatant casualties have yet been reported.

The PKK took up arms against the Turkish state in the 1980s to fight for an independent Kurdish nation. While it has since revised that goal in favour of a commitment to Kurdish rights and autonomy, the group is still designated as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the EU and US.

Peace talks between the Turkish president, Recep Tayip Erdoğan, and PKK leaders broke down in 2015, engulfing the south-east of the country in renewed violence. In the last few years Turkey has also been criticised for civilian deaths caused by bombing campaigns on PKK positions in northern Iraq and the invasion of areas in north-east Syria controlled by PKK-allied Kurdish militias.

Rumours of a major Turkish offensive against the PKK in northern Iraq have been growing for months. The local Kurdistan regional government (KRG) has a strained relationship with the PKK and strong trade links with Turkey, long allowing Ankara to maintain military bases in the area.

Iranian artillery fire on PKK hideouts in a border region on Tuesday added to speculation that this week’s military action was a complex, internationally coordinated manoeuvre.

“We suspect that the two sides [Turkey and Iran] are in coordination, because this is the first time that Turkey has bombed this area,” the Haji Omaran district mayor, Farzang Ahmed, told the local news agency Rudaw.

The new Turkish operations across northern Iraq were met with silence from the KRG, but drew angry rebukes from both the Arab League and the federal government in Baghdad.

On Tuesday, Turkey’s ambassador was summoned to the Iraqi ministry of foreign affairs and formally reminded of the country’s “sanctity and sovereignty”, an Iraqi defence ministry statement said.

According to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), Turkish operations against the PKK have intensified since the beginning of this year. Up until May, 77% of engagements had taken place in northern Iraq, as Turkey seeks to push the fighting outside its own borders.

Inside Turkey, the government has continued a crackdown on Kurdish politicians, activists and sympathisers it accuses of links to the PKK.

A “justice and democracy” march across the country organised by the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic party (HDP) set off from the western town of Edirne on Monday but was quickly met with barricades, teargas and rubber bullets from police.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/ ... 1ZnBvahEmQ
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Re: Turkey targets 150 suspected PKK positions in Iraq

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Jun 26, 2020 1:15 pm

Turkey continues offensive in Zakho

Turkey has carried its latest military offensive with combined air and ground operations in the Kurdistan Region pursuing suspected Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) targets into an eleventh day, a local official told Rudaw English on Friday

“Around 10:00 am this morning the Turkish warplanes bombarded Khamtir Mountain in Zakho,” Zeravan Musa, Darkar district head of Duhok province’s Zakho told Rudaw English on Friday.

According to Musa, the aerial bombardment was followed by ground clashes between Turkish troops and PKK fighters in the area, which “lasted for a while before it all calmed down.”

Zakho is a district on the Iraqi-Turkish border in the northern Duhok province of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

According to Rudaw’s reporter in Zakho, Yousif Musa, Turkish warplanes are still fervently patrolling the area’s sky.

Ankara launched its air campaign Operation Claw-Eagle against suspected PKK positions in the Kurdistan Region and the disputed territories on June 15. Its air forces have since hit scores of targets in the Kurdistan Region, says the Turkish defence ministry.

Targets include in the areas of Haftanin, Zap, Gara, Avasin-Basyan, Qandil and Khakurk, as well as the disputed towns of Shingal and Makhmour, both home to significant populations of refugees and the internally displaced.

Two days later, Turkey launched the ground-based Operation Claw-Tiger in Haftanin, involving the airdrop of commando force members into the Haftanin area of Duhok province. A further dispatch of Turkish commandos into the Kurdistan Region was made on June 21.

Turkish airstrikes killed at least five civilians in Duhok and Erbil provinces in two days beginning June 18. Ankara has announced the deaths of several PKK fighters, as well as two of its own soldiers. The PKK has not acknowledged Ankara-claimed casualties of its own fighters, but purports to have killed several Turkish soldiers and downed at least two helicopters.

However, in an official statement, the Turkish defense ministry claimed that they have never targeted civilians, and only target “terrorists.”

“As it has been the case before, no civilian has been harmed or will be harmed in this operation,” a‬ Turkish defense ministry statement released Friday claims.

Iran and Turkey appear to have coordinated recent artillery and bombing campaigns in the border areas of the Kurdistan region of Iraq, with the reported aim of targeting the Kurdish forces.

Iraqi President Barham Salih called on Ankara to end the Turkish military operation and airstrikes that violate the national sovereignty of Iraq.

“The Presidency of the Republic of Iraq calls for an end to the violations that affect national sovereignty as a result of the repeated Turkish military operations and its violation of Iraqi airspace, which killed a number of unarmed civilians,” Iraqi presidency tweeted on Friday.

Barham Salih stressed the need to solve the border issues and security between Iraq and Turkey through “cooperation and coordination”.

An unknown warplane conducted an airstrike targeting Kuna Masi tourist resort in northeastern Sulaimani province on Thursday, killing at least one unidentified fighter, and wounding six civilians.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/26062020
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Re: Turkey continues offensive on PKK positions in Iraq

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:06 pm

Turkish operation a violation of Kurdistan

Babakir Faqe, described Turkey's ongoing ground and aerial operation as "a blatant violation" of the sovereignty of Iraq – particularly that of the Kurdistan Region

Turkey launched an air offensive dubbed Operation Claw-Eagle on June 15, with the stated aim of targeting PKK bases in the Kurdistan Region. It launched a commando force ground campaign called Operation Claw-Tiger on June 17.

The air offensive has claimed the lives of five civilians, and injured several others.

Faqe told Rudaw on Saturday that according to international protocol, Turkey should have informed Erbil or Baghdad of their military operation , which he said they failed to do.

Turkey have entered 20 to 40 kilometers deep into the Kurdistan Region, while Iran, which has launched a simultaneous artillery shell campaign, has moved as far as 10 kilometers into the Kurdistan Region, Faqe said.

The Peshmerga official also called on the PKK to move its fight back across the border with Turkey.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity:

Rudaw: What is the Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs’ stance on Turkey's ongoing military operations inside the Kurdistan Region?

Babakir Faqe: It is very unfortunate. Turkey has been pounding the Kurdistan Region-Turkey-Iran border triangle with ground and air bombardments…Many villagers have been forced to flee their homes. All of their orchards and groves have caught fire. And in the name of chasing Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) members, they targeted civilians at Kuna Masi resort [Sulaimani province].

We at the Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs label these acts a blatant violation of both international law and the sovereignty of Iraq, especially the Kurdistan Region. We condemn it.


According to international protocol, a country planning to launch a cross-border operation should coordinate with that other country. Did the Turkish government coordinate with the Peshmerga Ministry regarding the current operations?

No. The Turkish government did not coordinate at all with the KRG concerning the operation. Absolutely, according to the international protocols, any neighboring country who plans to move troops or launch an operation needs to coordinate with the other country, so that we could at least talk and hold dialogue with the opposition group Turkey aims to target, to help avoid such blatant violations from happening against the KRG and the territorial sovereignty of the state of Iraq.

Are there any Peshmerga troops stationed in areas where the Turkish army has entered? Or are there PKK guerillas near Peshmerga troops stationed in border areas?

We have some forces stationed on the border areas, including the forces associated with the [Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs’] Unit 80 Forces. They [Turkey] have not come in from areas where the Peshmerga are present, but other areas, including Sindi and Gulli [Zakho district] all the way to the Khakurk triangle. The operations are being carried out in that region. I dare say they have transgressed as far as 20 to 40 kilometers deep into the Kurdistan Region's territory.

A number of Turkish media outlets are talking about the establishment of a no-fly zone from Shamdinli town to Sirnak [on the Turkish side of the Turkey-Kurdistan Region border], which is nearly 40 kilometers long. What would be the Peshmerga's reaction to such claims?

This is apparently their military plan. This plan has not been studied by the KRG, nor have we been informed about it. The area would be safe without their operations. They are causing uncertainty and instability in our country. Many villages have been emptied, civilians displaced, their properties, groves and orchards all burned.

They say they build the no-fly zone because PKK fighters are in that region [Shamdinli to Sirnak]. Do you know of the presence of the PKK in that region?

The PKK fighters are present on the [Turkey-Kurdistan Region] border line, and the triangle border. But their presence is not that big. They are a hidden presence, in small groups. We also call on the PKK of Turkey to take into account the sovereignty of the Kurdistan Region. They have to understand that this Region has came into being with a huge amount of sacrifice, blood and struggle of the KRG. They must take their struggle back to the land of North Kurdistan [southeastern Turkey]. Turkey carries out these operations because the PKK is present in the border areas.

It is said that from the other side, Iranian troops have entered nearly 20 kilometers deep into the Kurdistan Region. What information do you have about Iranian artillery fire?

The Islamic Republic of Iran has simultaneously launched its own operation, shelling the regions of Haji Omaran and villages on the outskirts of Mount Qandil. They are already 10 kilometers deep into the Kurdistan Region, stationing their forces on the Mount Qandil range. They have set up observation posts and fortifications.

Interview conducted by Dildar Harki

https://www.rudaw.net/english/interview/270620201
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Re: Turkey continues offensive on PKK positions in Iraq

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:11 pm

Turkey has no respect for Kurds

Thousands in Kurdish border towns fear advance of Turkish incursion: officials

Around 50,000 residents of the areas surrounding the town of Zakho in Duhok province fear that their lives could be endangered at any moment due to the recent clashes between Turkish forces and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), local officials tell Rudaw.

Turkey launched an air offensive dubbed Operation Claw-Eagle on June 15, with the stated aim of targeting PKK bases in the Kurdistan Region, then launched a commando force ground campaign called Operation Claw-Tiger on June 17. The air offensive has claimed the lives of five civilians, and injured several others.

Zeravan Musa, mayor of the Darkar subdistrict in Zakho, told Rudaw TV on Friday that Turkey’s advances have caused a number of villages to “fall behind” the Turkish military’s forward positions.

"There are 21 villages, and most of them are empty except for four of them where only a small number of people live there," he said. While the offensive has not caused any civilian casualties in the area, it has damaged agricultural land used by farmers.

The official said that they are in contact with those villagers who remain in the area to see if they require assistance, "but they are not willing to move to downtown Zakho," said Musa.

Musa told Rudaw that Turkish soldiers rappelled down onto the strategic Mount Khamter, which is located near the [Iraqi] border and overlooks several villages below. “This has created fear among the residents of our area,” Musa said.

He added that “bombardments continue every day and Turkey continues to advance.” The latest offensive has affected 30 villages of the subdistrict so far, according to Musa.

“Currently, 13,000 citizens and 27,000 displaced people from three different camps are terrified due to the sound of the bombardment and Turkey’s advances,” the official said.

Both the PKK and Turkish forces have had military bases along the Turkey-Iraq border for decades. The rough, mountainous region is home mostly to poor farmers who struggle to earn a living.

They are also home to an untold number of guerrillas of the PKK, who have for years used the border region as a base of operations. But with their presence comes the threat of attacks by Turkish forces, which have frightened and sometimes threatened local villagers.

Abdulrahman Mohammed, resident of the area, told Rudaw that both PKK and Ankara “do not let us rest.” Other residents said that they have no place to go.

Zakho is a district on the Iraqi-Turkish border in the northern Duhok province of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

Dilsher Abdulsattar, mayor of the Batifa subdistrict in Zakho told Rudaw that 12 villages of the area have seen damage to their agricultural lands. “A village has been completely emptied and three others could be emptied as well.”

He added that 10,000 residents of the area fear that their lives are in danger due to the clashes.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan ... -260620201
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Re: Thousands in fear of Turkish attack

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:40 pm

#TurkeyInvadesKurdistan:

Social media reactions to latest Turkish offensive

Thousands of social media users around the world have taken to Twitter and other platforms to show their solidarity with Kurds during Turkey’s latest operations in the Kurdistan Region, which have thus far claimed the lives of five civilians in just over two weeks.

Turkey says it is only striking Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) targets in the Region, but many of those using hashtags including #TurkeyInvadesKurdistan say the campaign has had a wider cost on the general Kurdish population.

Ankara launched the air-based Operation Claw-Eagle on June 15 and the ground-based Operation Claw-Tiger two days later. The offensive’s civilian casualties have caused widespread anger across the Kurdistan Region, and even resulted in protests.

However, public fury reached a peak when a strike hit Kuna Masi resort in Sulaimani province on June 25, injuring six civilians.

Many blame Turkey for the unclaimed drone attack. However, the neighboring country has neither confirmed or denied its involvement in the strike, instead maintaining that it never targets civilians.

Kurdish Twitter users popularized several hashtags this week in response to the offensive, several of which have trended worldwide, especially in Western countries home to a large Kurdish diaspora.

#TurkeyIsBombingKurds has been used in more than 80,000 tweets, while #TurkeyInvadesKurdistan has been used in nearly 300,000 over the last couple of days, according to the social media analytics site getdaytrends.com.

Many Kurdish users took the opportunity to share past incidents and personal experience they claim are part of the Turkish government’s oppressive policy towards Kurds.

    The only place I have ever feared or felt threatened to identify myself as a Kurd has been in Turkey. So don’t tell me that the killing of Kurdish civilians are targeted at PKK. Erdogan’s words, ‘A good kurd is a dead Kurd.’ #TurkeyIsBombingKurds
    — Alka Aziz Salam (@aBoskani) June 27, 2020
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has asked the PKK to leave its land and Turkey to respect its sovereignty.

YourAnonNews, a Twitter account with 7.5 million followers claiming to be affiliated to the international hacker collective Anonymous - has also joined the campaign.

    Recent twitterstorm re Turkey's invasion in Kurdistan with the hashtag below.

    10pm Kurdistan
    9pm Europe
    8pm London
    3pm New York pic.twitter.com/ttvLJrwz5d
    — Anonymous (@YourAnonNews) June 28, 2020
Youtuber Nuha Bahadeen shared a video on her channel, featuring several Kurdish women saying, “we are Kurdish and we are not terrorists” in different languages.

Bahadeen says that the video is a response to Turkey’s recent offensive in the Kurdistan Region.

“This attack and many [others[ like it in every way is a grave human rights violation,” she said adding that the targeted areas are “populated by peaceful residents and families, just like me, people like you, or the people shown in this video - people who want to live in safety and dignity.”

Dilshad, a Kurdish Twitter user, accused Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of using the bombing to rally voters.

[list]Kurds are just an election challenge for Erdogan or any other Turkish leader who wants to win elections. Bomb the Kurds, kill them and win an election in Turkey. A democracy that is built in racism. #TurkeyInvadesKurdistan
— Dlshad (@dlshadothman) June 29, 2020[/list]
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