Turkish airstrike kills 4 PKK fighters near Kurdistan Region's Qaladze: Mayor
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – At least four were killed on Sunday in an alleged Turkish airstrike that targeted a vehicle near villages outside the Kurdistan Region’s district of Qaladze, according to a local official.
Qaladze Mayor Bakir Bayez, Qaladze told Kurdistan 24 that the vehicle, carrying four passengers, had been traveling between the villages of Geera and Kani Lan at the time, some 9 miles (15 km) northeast of Sulaimani province’s Qaladze district,
He added that it was the first time in recent memory that “Turkish warplanes” have conducted such an airstrike in the immediate vicinity.
Local sources indicated that the vehicle had belonged to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and that all those killed were its fighters.
Neither the PKK nor Turkey have yet acknowledged the incident.
The PKK has been locked in a decades-long conflict against Ankara over Kurdish rights in Turkey that has led to tens of thousands of deaths on both sides. The group is headquartered in the Kurdistan Region's Qandil Mountains, mostly in rural areas along the Turkish and Iranian borders like Qaladze.
Officials from both Iraq and the Kurdistan Region have repeatedly called on Turkey and the PKK to take their fight away from areas populated by civilians, thousands of whom have been displaced, suffered damage to their farms, livestock, or other property. Others have suffered serious injury or even death as a result of skirmishes or Turkish bombardment of suspected PKK positions.
The conflict has escalated in recent weeks, as have hostilities between the PKK and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
In a recent example that took place on Tuesday morning, a Peshmerga soldier on duty in the Zakho district of Duhok was killed by apparent PKK sniper fire.
This came just days after five Peshmerga fighters 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 Iraq's disputed district of Sinjar (Shingal).
Editing by John J. Catherine