EBRIL (Kurdistan 24) – Turkish warplanes on Tuesday afternoon targeted a vehicle purportedly carrying members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) as it drove outside a village to the north of the Kurdistan Region, local witnesses said.
The vehicle “had five PKK guerrillas in it and three of them were killed in the bombardment while the other two escaped, injured,” one witness from the village of Ozmana – located roughly 25 kilometers north of the city of Duhok – told Kurdistan 24.
The incident had occurred near Ozmana around 2:15 p.m. Approximately one hour later, Turkish airstrikes hit areas surrounding Doobanke village near the city of Zakho, located close to Turkey’s border with the Kurdistan Region.
A local witness told Kurdistan 24 that the attack had caused substantial damage to agricultural fields in the area.
In the past two days, the Turkish military has claimed it has “neutralized” nine alleged PKK fighters in separate operations in the Kurdistan Region, without specifying dates.
Ankara is currently in its fifth month of an anti-PKK campaign they launched in late May called Operation Claw, now in its third phase. The total number of PKK operatives the Turkish army claimed to have killed or captured has reached over 400.
The PKK is engaged in a decades-long insurgency against Turkey over Kurdish rights and self-rule, in a conflict that has resulted in the death of over 40,000 people on both sides.
Ankara, along with Washington and NATO, designates the PKK as a terrorist organization. The group is thought to have fighters near hundreds of villages inside the Kurdistan Region, mainly in the mountainous areas near the Turkish and Iranian borders.
In the past decade, Turkey has regularly shelled areas inside the Kurdistan Region, but operations this year have intensified and widened in terms of scope and territory covered. In some areas, Turkish forces have mobilized as far as 30 kilometers deep inside the autonomous region’s border.
As civilians, agriculture, trade, and the local environment continue to suffer from the clashes, residents and Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) officials have repeatedly asked the PKK and the Turkish government to take their fight elsewhere.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany