ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Multiple fires were started in rural mountainous areas in the Kurdistan Region on Friday after being shelled by the Turkish military who were targeting bases of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a military source said.
“The shelling burned large swaths of territory in the mountainous area of Bradost,” Iraqi border guards in the area told Kurdistan 24 Correspondent Tayfur Mohammed.
“Today, Turkish artillery bombarded the areas of Chiadil, Gali Rash, Khwakurk, Garui Kawart, Gali Khwakurk, and Shushne,” the source added, mentioned also that the shelling had caused heavy environmental damage in the region.
Turkey has in recent months stepped up its air campaign in the Qandil Mountains of the northern Kurdistan Region where the PKK is headquartered.
The group has been locked in a decades-long armed conflict with the Turkish government over broader Kurdish rights in the country. Tensions increased following the collapse of a two-year ceasefire between them in 2015.
Turkey’s military has crossed up to 20 kilometers deep in some areas of the Kurdistan Region to target the PKK, and bombardment from Turkish jets occasionally result in the death of civilians unaffiliated to the Kurdish rebels.
Ankara, as well as the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, and NATO, consider the PKK a “terrorist” organization.
The conflict between Turkey and the PKK has resulted in over 40,000 casualties on both sides as well as the destruction of thousands of villages and infrastructure in much of the country's southeast provinces.
Editing by John J. Catherine