ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Three adult Kurdish brothers from Duhok province whose family had been unable to contact for a week were found dead on Saturday, the apparent victims of Turkish air strikes.
They were discovered in mountainous terrain outside their town of Sheladize, 19 kilometers (13 miles) from the Turkish border in Amedi district.
The brothers are identified by family as 61 year-old Tahir Mohammed, Majeed, aged 47, and Ramazan, 43. All were married with children.
They set out for rural areas surrounding the village of Nerwai Sito on April 7 to collect honey from bee hives, to collect wild springtime edible plants, and some other agricultural work, local security and family members told Kurdistan 24.
Shortly after they left, communications stopped.
One of their cousins told Kurdistan 24 that, days later, the family was alerted by a resident of the village area that he had seen some of their belongings near where they had been staying, but had grown suspicious when the brothers had not returned to the site.
Relatives went to search for them and made the grim discovery. According to the security source, "their bodies were cut into pieces after being hit by Turkish air strikes."
Turkey has regularly shelled the Kurdistan Region’s border areas in recent decades. So far, about 500 villages in Erbil and Duhok provinces have been evacuated due to the repeated attacks by Turkey aimed to target Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighters in the area.
Since the beginning of this year, seven civilians in Duhok province have been killed by the airstrikes and several more wounded.
The PKK is designated as ‘terrorist’ group by Turkey, the EU, and the US. The Turkish government and PKK have been fighting for since the beginning of the 1980s in a conflict that has taken some 40,000 lives on both sides.
Kurdish officials, including the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region Nechirvan Barzani, have repeatedly asked the PKK to leave the area as well as asking Turkey to stop bombing within its borders.
Turkish forces have increased their military actions against the PKK over the past few weeks, including building outposts and military access roads. They have crossed into the Kurdistan Region up to 20 kilometers deep in some areas to target the Kurdish guerilla fighters.
Editing by John J. Catherine