ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A spokesperson for the US-led Coalition says it was not involved in the Turkish decision to send jets over the Iraqi border to carry out a military operation in Sinjar (Shingal) on Wednesday.
“We are aware that Turkish aircraft carried out strikes in the Sinjar area which was a unilateral Turkish decision,” Col Thomas Veale, Director of Public Affairs for
CJTF-OIR, told Kurdistan 24 on Thursday.
According to the official, Turkey had “alerted the Coalition of its intention to strike in the Sinjar area, but did not give specific targeting information.”
“Queries pertaining to Turkish targeting and strike operations should be directed to Turkish officials,” he added.
“All Coalition nations are concerned about [the Islamic State’s] attempts to re-establish a presence anywhere, and we will continue to work by, with, and through our partners to achieve a lasting defeat of the terrorist organization.”
On Wednesday, sources told Kurdistan 24 that Turkish warplanes were bombarding west of Baraa village located near the Syrian border in the Yezidi (Ezidi)-populated Shingal District.
Shortly after, Turkish media outlets claimed a commander by the name of Ismail Ozden, also known as Mam Zeki Shingali, had been killed in the airstrikes.
The Union of Kurdistan Communities (KCK), an umbrella political group for several parties close to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), confirmed the death of Shingali, who was a member of the Shingal Yazidi Coordination and an Executive Council member of the KCK.
In the statement, the KCK blamed Iraq, the US, and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) “for the violation of Shingali airspace.”
“They have been allowing the Turkish state aircrafts to attack Shingal [sic],” the KCK said.
The KDP does not control any airspace in Iraq.
In April 2017, Turkish airstrikes supposedly targeting the PKK-affiliated YBS killed five Peshmerga soldiers and wounded nine others, as well as causing extensive damage to the area, resulting in condemnation from the Kurdistan Regional Government.
In March 2018, the PKK said it withdrew its forces from Shingal, handing over positions to the Iraqi army.
The PKK found a foothold there after coming down from its mountain bases on the Iraq-Iran border to back the Kurdistan Region’s Peshmerga forces and Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) to open a safety corridor for the Ezidis.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany