ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Turkish military helicopters targeted areas on the outskirts of the Soran district in Erbil late Tuesday night.
According to local sources, the gunships heavily shelled the villages of Khalifan and Siran in the Soran district in the Erbil governorate.
It was not immediately clear if the attacks resulted in casualties. However, a massive fire erupted and burned down farm and cattle grazing lands in the nearby area, causing significant environmental damage and destroying livelihoods in the process.
The airstrikes generated widespread panic among residents of the area, forcing families close to the bombardment zones to evacuate their houses.
Earlier this morning, Turkish fighter jets also targeted a house in the disputed Sinjar (Shingal) district in northwestern Iraq, killing five and injuring one.
The airstrike targeted the Khana Sor region of the Sinune sub-district of Shingal, about 8 kilometers from the Syrian border to the north.
According to Abbas Ibrahim, a resident of Khana Sor, five individuals were caught in the fires. However, it was unclear if they were civilians or militants of the Yezidi (Ezidi) Shingal Resistance Units (YBS), who are based in the targeted settlement.
Turkish bombardment of the vast border areas of Turkey, Iran, and the Kurdistan Region have become commonplace since the peace process between Turkey and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) broke down in July 2015.
The PKK, now headquartered in the Qandil Mountains of the Kurdistan Region, took up arms against Ankara in the 1980s to demand more rights for the Kurds in a conflict that has killed thousands of people on both sides.
During the past two years, Turkey has stepped up airstrikes against the PKK and has threatened to launch a military operation in the Qandil Mountains in the Kurdistan Region, where the PKK is headquartered, and the Kurdish-Ezidi city of Shingal on the Syrian border.
Editing by Nadia Riva