ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Following two days of civilian deaths caused by Turkish bombardment, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) asked both Ankara and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) to put an end to their conflict in areas of the Kurdistan Region populated by civilians.
“The KRG will not allow its lands to be used to start conflicts with neighboring countries and to harm its civilians in the process, especially the people living in rural villages at the rural areas,” read a statement.
The PKK has been engaged in a decades-long insurgency against Turkey over Kurdish rights and self-rule. Turkey, the United States, and the European Union all designate it as a “terrorist” group.
In the past year, Turkey has carried out military operations against PKK fighters based within the Kurdistan Region with continued regularity. Turkish forces have crossed into the region up to 20 kilometers deep in some areas to target the guerilla group.
Such attacks have led to the evacuation of many villagers from the Kurdistan Region as Ankara’s warplanes continue to damage residential and agricultural lands, and, on occasion, kill civilian bystanders about whom there are no claims of PKK affiliation. Aggrieved locals have long urged both sides to take their conflict elsewhere.
In two separate attacks on Wednesday and Thursday, Turkish jets killed five civilians in Erbil Province.
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The KRG extended its grief for and condolence to the families of the victims, stating that the PKK must stop endangering the lives of people living near the border by infiltrating their villages and use them as hideouts.
The statement went on to charge that the Turkish attacks, taking place in the districts of Soran and Qaladze, targeted civilian vehicles and killed “only farmers, busy with grains and livestock.”
Editing by John J. Catherine