ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Among the victims of recent bombardments by Turkey on the Kurdistan Region are farmers whose crops have been destroyed and people displaced by burning forests, a Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) official reported on Sunday.
“In addition to human losses, airstrikes and bombardments have become the core reason behind the destruction and the burning of mass agricultural lands and forests,” said Dindar Zebari, KRG Coordinator for International Advocacy, in a statement on the latest figures regarding recent bombardments in the Kurdistan Region.
The statement comes as hundreds of people in the northern town of Sheladize on Saturday protested Turkey’s ongoing bombardment of their villages after recent Turkish strikes left at least four civilians dead.
From Jan. 1, 2015 to the end of 2018, “border areas were bombarded 398 times” by Turkish aircraft and “425 by Turkish mortars,” according to information obtained from the Ministry of Peshmerga, Zebari revealed.
On Wednesday, Turkish warplanes heavily bombarded the Kurdistan Region’s Amedi border areas, killing four civilians. Two other people are believed to still be missing.
Demonstrators in Sheladize, located in the Duhok province’s Amedi region, took to the streets, holding up signs and shouting slogans calling on the Turkish military and the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) to “take their fight elsewhere.”
Other than Sheladize, the areas of Rwanduz, Choman, Mergasur, Soran, as well as others near the border with Turkey and Iran, have been regular targets of both Ankara and Tehran targeting dissident armed groups hiding in the mountain ranges.
In those areas, Turkish airstrikes and Iranian shelling have led to the damage and destruction of many agricultural lands and forests, as well as the homes and livestock of people in the region. Up to 8000 hectares of land has been affected, according to the statement.
Hundreds of villages along the Turkish-Kurdistan border have been evacuated due to the ongoing violence. On the Iran border, villages were abandoned in Haji Omaran in the summer months as border guards warned they would establish a two-kilometer-wide, ten-kilometer-long security perimeter and open fire on those who refused to leave.
In 2018, various groups reported on the “scorched earth” approach of the Kurdistan Region’s neighboring countries when dealing with armed groups, which has resulted in the financial losses, environmental destruction, and fatalities.