ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Turkish warplanes late Wednesday evening shelled areas surrounding two villages in the northern part of the Kurdistan Region’s Sulaimani Province, at the foot of the Qandil mountains, the headquarters of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The bombardment wounded two civilians from the nearby village of Zewka, located in Pishdar District of Sulaimani, witnesses source told Kurdistan 24. Nearby emergency services could not get to the injured individuals, Omar Abdullah and Dilman Abdullah, due to the severity of the attack, a local resident said.
Aside from the human casualties, the airstrike caused significant material damage to the villagers’ properties and crops.
In the past two years, Turkey has routinely shelled and bombarded territory well past its border with the Kurdistan Region, claiming nearby detection of members of the PKK, a group fighting a decades-long insurgency with Ankara over Kurdish rights and self-rule.
Earlier this week, Turkey’s defense ministry estimated they had “neutralized” up to 14 alleged PKK fighters in recent operations, totaling over 400 members since May 27, when Ankara launched “Operation Claw” in the Kurdistan Region.
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 border. Erbil has repeatedly called on the group to stop using the region as a launchpad for its attacks.
Turkey’s incursion and the battles that take place near civilians’ homes has pushed many to leave their areas and seek safety southward at the cost of losing their lands and livelihoods.
Due to the repeated attacks in the border areas of Duhok Province, local authorities have shuttered seven schools as it has become increasingly dangerous and unviable for students and staff to attend classes.
Editing by Nadia Riva