Turkish attack inside Iraqi Kurdistan kills five civilians, injures two

Scores of Iraqis have been killed since Turkish forces launched their so-called Operation Claw Lock in Iraqi Kurdistan in April, allegedly to fight the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK)

July 18, 2022 by Peoples Dispatch
Photo via @ahadtv on Twitter

On July 17, invading Turkish forces launched a drone strike on a car filled with civilians, killing at least five civilians and injuring two others, west of Mosul in Iraqi Kurdistan.

According to a statement issued by the governor of the Nineveh province in Iraq, Najm al-Jubouri, the attack happened at around 2:20 PM when Turkish drones dropped bomb on a civilian vehicle. Al-Jubouri condemned the attack, arguing that such incidents can destabilize the region. He demanded that the Iraqi government take up the issue with Turkey, Rudaw reported. 

Iraqi Kurdistan’s counter-terrorism directorate as well as Turkish officials claimed that the vehicle attacked belonged to Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), and was carrying PKK militants. PKK affiliated media claimed that the vehicle was carrying civilians. 

This was the second such attack carried out by the Turkish forces in less than a month. In an earlier attack in June, at least four people were killed. At the time, the Iraqi foreign ministry had issued a statement condemning the strike in “strongest terms” claiming that the “attack undermines the security of Iraq and stability of its people, and requires a unified stance to be confronted,” Press TV reported. 

Turkey has listed PKK as a terrorist organization, claiming that the PKK is responsible for attacks against civilians in Turkey. In the 1980s, PKK resisted the persecution of Kurdish minorities in Turkey. PKK demands a separate state for the Kurdish people.  

Turkish forces have carried out several attacks inside Syria and Iraq, claiming that the PKK uses the Kurdish majority in the region to build bases there, and that the organization carries out attacks inside Turkey from across the border. Turkish forces have attacked several villages and built their own bases in the region in order to create a buffer zone. In April of this year, Turkish forces launched their so-called Operation Claw Lock inside of northern Iraq. 

The Turkish occupation has forced scores of civilians to leave their homes in Iraqi Kurdistan. Turkish forces have also attacked neighboring Syria in 2020, where Turkey wants to create a 30-kilometers deep “security zone” inside Syrian borders. Turkish president Recep Tayyib Erdogan has threatened to resume the operations earlier this year, alleging that the agreement signed in 2020 under Russian mediation was not implemented, and that the PKK continues to use Syrian territories to launch attacks against Turkey.

Turkish forces have already carried out several rounds of shelling inside Syrian territories, resulting in widespread condemnation.  

The Erdogan government has claimed that the operations in Iraq are carried out in coordination with the Iraqi government. Iraqi officials have denied such claims. Several Iraqi groups, in particular the Hashad al-Sha’abi militias, have threatened the Turkish forces with retaliation. In May of this year, at least two Turkish soldiers were killed in the region while carrying out attacks against the PKK.