Peshmerga killed by suspected PKK sniper fire while on duty in Zakho

Peshmerga Rawan Sindi was killed by a PKK sniper on June 8, 2021. (Photo: Kurdistan 24)
Peshmerga Rawan Sindi was killed by a PKK sniper on June 8, 2021. (Photo: Kurdistan 24)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A Peshmerga on duty in the Zakho district of Duhok province was killed early Tuesday by apparent sniper fire from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a local official told Kurdistan 24.

Razwan Sindi was shot around 7 a.m. local time in the Darkar sub-district, according Adeb Ja’far, the mayor of the town.

Sindi's vehicle was part of a joint Iraqi-Kurdish military patrol in the area. Iraqi border guards had called for a support team and a Peshmerga unit that included Sindi responded, local Peshmerga commander Sheikh Ali told Kurdistan 24.

The joint patrol was intended to thwart further Turkish advancement into the Kurdistan Region and Iraq, according to Ali. Ankara has in recent weeks encroached into Kurdish territory around the border area in the latest escalation in its decades-old fight against the PKK.

Sindi, who is from Zakho, had been a member of the Kurdistan Region’s military force for more than a decade, his father told Kurdistan 24. He is survived by three children.

“PKK clearly oppresses our nation as they have invaded our land and villages,” Ali Sindi told Kurdistan 24, asking “why do they not go back to Bakur [Turkish Kurdistan]?”

The attack comes just days after five of the region's Peshmerga forces were killed in an apparent ambush by the PKK near Mount Matina in the Amedi district of Duhok, and hours after two Peshmerga were abducted in Sinjar.

The PKK, headquartered in the Kurdistan Region's Zagros Mountains, has been locked in a decades-long conflict against Ankara over Kurdish rights in Turkey. The fighting  has led to tens of thousands of deaths on both sides. Rural residents and the local environment continue to suffer from ongoing clashes in the border area, which have escalated in recent weeks.

The Kurdistan Region and Iraqi officials have repeatedly called on Turkey and the PKK to take their fight away from the autonomous region and civilians in the border area.

Editing by Joanne Stocker-Kelly