ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The armed conflict between the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) and Turkey has taken a heavy toll on the Kurdistan Region’s borders as up to 400 villages have been evacuated so far.
According to Sherko Zangana, Commander General of the Kurdistan Region’s border patrol, the armed clashes are getting closer to villages as Turkish jets and artillery continue to attack alleged PKK bases.
“As a result, approximately 400 villages have been evacuated and moved to nearby areas that are far from the conflict as people continue to suffer a loss of lives, injuries, and infrastructural damages,” Zangana told Anadolu Agency.
“With the constant threat of being caught in the fight, the people of the border villages migrate more and more daily, which will create a problem in the area.”
The Commander General also noted that when the PKK outposts are attacked, the Kurdish rebels move their bases closer to the villages, putting the people’s lives at risk. The clashes have also damaged farmlands which villagers rely on for income.
Zangana, like other Kurdistan Region officials, reminded both parties that the borders of the autonomous Kurdish region should not be used as a battlefield because it threatens civilian life and their livelihood.
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 group.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany