ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – Turkish airstrikes targeting Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) bases in northern Kurdistan Region forced the evacuation of 100 villages, a Kurdish official said on Friday.
Following the 2015 elections in Turkey, clashes between the Turkish soldiers and PKK fighters have reignited after two years of ceasefire between both sides.
Turkey continues to shell PKK bases located on the Kurdistan Region border with Turkey. Mayor of Sidakan town Karwan Karimkhan told Kurdistan24 that the evacuation of Kurdish villages continues as Turkey targets PKK bases in the area.
“More than 100 villages have evacuated [in the last decade] due to clashes between Turkey and PKK,” Karimkhan said.
He also mentioned that they have often asked PKK fighters through third party representatives to leave the area and move to places far from civilians.
“We have notified those who are above us about this issue…Since we don’t have an official relation with PKK, we are obliged to talk to them indirectly through others. We ask them to transfer their bases from inside villages so that people’s lives won’t be in danger,” Karimkhan added.
Gul Ali, an elderly villager in Sidakan area, told Kurdistan24, “Our village has been shelled five times so far, killing a man named Mam Sleman,” she continued. “We have lost our livestock, and we have fled the village in fear 12 times already.”
Zuber Ahmad is another villager who calls on PKK fighters to transfer their bases from their village. “We ask PKK to avoid our village. We don’t have any problems with them as they are Kurdish just like us, but they should avoid civilian areas as warplanes continuously target them.”
Whenever PKK fighters enter a village jets will target them, says Salih Ahmad, another civilian in the area. “When warplanes shell our community, children and women get scared, and eventually they leave their homes.”
Kurdistan24 reporter Tayfur Abdullah visited a PKK security checkpoint in Sidakan, but they refused to talk, claiming that Turkish warplanes fly in the sky and monitor their movements before striking.
Sidakan is located on the Kurdistan Region border with Turkey and Iran. Sidakan is believed to be the largest town in Iraq in terms of territory consisting of 250 villages.
Reporting by Tayfur Mohamad and Mewan Dolamari
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany