Turkey shells PKK targets in Qandil, sparks fires nearby
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A Turkish fighter jet on Friday morning struck the Qandil Mountains in the autonomous Kurdistan Region targeting Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighters in the area, causing fires in nearby lands and polluting the environment, local sources said.
The airstrikes took place around 10:00 am, Erbil time, after surveying the area for half an hour, local residents told Kurdistan 24.
#Turkey shells PKK targets in Qandil, sparks fires nearbyhttps://t.co/EUjN1xIGMV#TwitterKurds pic.twitter.com/2xQ5HBdAVr— Kurdistan 24 English (@K24English) August 16, 2019
The shellings targeted the villages of Gali Bardan, Sargali, Bermaka, and other surrounding areas located at the bottom of the Qandil Mountains, another villager asserted.
The fire caused by the airstrikes has been challenging to extinguish due to lack of appropriate roads and difficulties for fire trucks to reach the area, villagers added.
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Turkey, the EU, and the US have designated the PKK a “terrorist organization.”
The PKK has been engaged in a decades-long insurgency against Turkey over Kurdish rights and self-rule since the early 1980s in a conflict that has resulted in the death of over 40,000 people on both sides.
Over the past few years, 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 30 kilometers deep in some areas to target the 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.
Editing by Nadia Riva