CPTnet 7 July 2016 IRAQI KURDISTAN: June 2016 Newsletter–Border Bombings
The Kelasheen, the high mountain pastures used in the summer for grazing and farming by the villagers of Zhilya. Photo: Caldwell Manners
Sidakan, Caught on the Border
Latif Hars and Caldwell Manners
Sidakan, a sub-district along the borders of Turkey and Iran, has recently come under heavy Turkish bombing. Villagers now have to navigate precariously between invisible lines of armed Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK)- controlled areas, which tend to be at higher risk, and high pasture grazing land, the Kelasheen, where their families camp all summer with their animals. On the eastern border, Iran has begun shelling the area, displacing and injuring people.
Sidakan is the largest sub-district in Iraq and the autonomous region of Kurdistan in Iraq (Kurdistan Regional Government – KRG). This rugged mountainous region shares a border with Turkey on the north and Iran on the east.
CPT began it’s work in the area a few years ago when Turkey and Iran were bombing and shelling the highlands, prior to the failed peace talks of 2015, between Turkey and the (PKK).
Turkey began bombing the area in the mid-nineties when the PKK moved their operations from the cities of southeast Turkey to the eastern mountains of the KRG, including Sidakan. The villagers who farm and graze their animals in these mountainous pastures continue to be victims of the cross border attacks as reported by the team in their 2012 report, “Disrupted lives” and most recently in neighbouring Zergaly.
Long time CPT partner, Kak Bapir from the village of Baste, shows the team footage of grazing and agricultural land prone to aerial Turkish strikes. On June 27th warplanes stuck 200 meters from his home shattering the glass of village homes and burning surrounding grazing land. Photo: Caldwell Manners