ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Three Kurdish villagers on Wednesday were injured in Erbil’s Sidakan border area after Turkish fighter jets shelled the region, a medical source from a local hospital told Kurdistan 24.
The shelling took place at around 5:30 am, local time, on the village of Merga Rash, located in Erbil Province’s Sidakan district.
All of the injured villagers are members of the Kurdish Peshmerga forces and are relatives. Two of them are brothers and the third one is their cousin. One of the brothers, aged 36, reportedly suffered heavy injuries and lost a leg.
“A big fire erupted in our village. We went out to control and extinguish the fire,” one of the wounded villagers told Kurdistan 24 after being transferred to Ashti Hospital in the city of Soran.
“We extinguished the fire, and we saw PKK [Kurdistan Workers’ Party] fighters in a nearby valley escaping. We got into the car to leave, but that’s when Turkish jets struck us,” he recounted.
The attacks were believed to be targeting PKK fighters in the area.
Turkey has routinely shelled and otherwise attacked areas well past its borders and into the Kurdistan Region in past months and years, killing and injuring many civilians about whom there are no claims of PKK affiliation.
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.
The clashes between the PKK and Turkish forces have led to the evacuation of hundreds of villages in the autonomous Kurdistan Region located near the Turkish border.
The PKK is thought to have fighters near hundreds of villages inside the Kurdistan Region, mainly in the mountainous areas near the Turkish border.
As part of the conflict, the Turkish army has crossed its southern border several times in the past year, in some places, up to 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) deep into the Kurdistan Region.
Villagers have repeatedly called on both sides to take their battle elsewhere as many have fallen victim to Turkey’s airstrikes and artillery attacks.
Editing by Nadia Riva
(Additional reporting by Teyfur Mohammed)