Turkish drone bombs Kurdish refugee camp in disputed Makhmour
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Turkish military on Saturday conducted drone strikes close to a refugee camp outside Iraq's disputed town of Makhmour, with several people killed or wounded, a local security source said.
“Three civilians were killed and two wounded,” Rashad Galali, a Kurdish lawmaker from Makhmur, told AFP, adding that the strike targeted “a kindergarten near a school” in the camp.
A security source who asked not to be named told Kurdistan 24 that the Turkish drone also struck a PKK outpost near the camp.
"The Turkish drone targeted a headquarters of PKK militants located in the vicinity of the refugee camp," they said, killing and wounding several PKK members.
The attack comes after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday threatened to bomb the camp during a live interview on the Turkish state-channel TRT. "If the United Nations does not clean it up, we will do it as a UN member," Erdogan said.
The Makhmour camp receives regular assistance from the United Nations. Ankara has reportedly complained to Baghdad recently about PKK activities in the area.
Makhmour is a town 60 kilometers (40 miles) southwest of the Kurdistan Region capital Erbil.
It hosts a camp of some 12,000 Kurdish refugees who fled Turkey into the Kurdistan Region in the mid-1990s, a decade of Turkish-led violence marked by extrajudicial killings, disappearances, and depopulation of thousands of villages in Kurdish provinces of the country.
Turkey claims the PKK gets its recruits from the Makhmour camp, which is allegedly administered by affiliates of the armed group. Turkey, the EU, and the US have designated the PKK as a “terrorist organization.”
Turkish shelling in the border areas in the Duhok province, the Makhmour camp, as well as the Qandil Mountains has become a norm since the peace process between the PKK and Ankara collapsed in 2015.
Editing by Khrush Najari