Updates on Turkish Military Operation Claw-Lightning

Turkish attack on civilians continues
A large plume of dark grey smoke rises from a valley between to hillsides. There is a black tarp in the foreground of the image and a blue sky with one large cloud on the left.
Turkish bombardments in Kesta, Iraqi Kurdistan.

Updates on Turkish Military Operation Claw-Lightning: The Civilian Impact in Iraqi Kurdistan from 23 April – 30 August 2021. Read the original report here

Turkish Armed Forces attacks kill three civilians

  • On 20 August 2021, Ahmed Shakir (40 years old) and Yousif Aamir (26 years old) were killed in the Batifa sub-district of Zakho. They were visiting Banke village resort when Turkish military forces started shelling the road with artillery, killing them both. Since they were tourists from Mosul, their family found out about their deaths two days later when Kurdistan Security Forces discovered their bodies.
  • On 13 August 2021, Turkish military forces shot Ibrahem Hassan Mohamad (51 years old) while watering his fields in Dishishe village, Kani Masi. The villagers had been forcibly displaced by the Turkish military’s Operation Claw-Lightning earlier this year. Ibrahem and 12 other civilians had come back briefly to water their fields, necessary to support their families. During a clash with the PKK, Turkey began shooting at the village from their new military base, hitting Ibrahem and killing him immediately.
Ramazan Ali is laying on a bed, resting from injuries sustained from Turkish military bombing. Ramazan has bandages on his left foot and his left hand from the injuries. Ramazan’s left hand is on a pillow, and the bed has a black and white blanket. Ramazan is wearing a grey dress shirt and pants. Behind Ramazan is a brown and white wall.

Turkish Armed Force attacks injure six civilians

  • On 10 August 2021, 55-year-old Abdulrahman Yousif from Bosal village in Drakar sub-district in Zakho was injured in a Turkish bombardment while picking figs in his orchard.
  • On 8 July 2021, a civilian from the village of Hirure was injured by shrapnel from artillery fire when the Turkish Military began firing at the village farmlands from inside their base.
  • On 1 June 2021, Turkish military began firing artillery at Ramazan Ali, aged 70, injuring him while irrigating his fields in Hirure.
  • On 26 May 2021, brothers Ali Muhsin, aged 16, and Hasan Muhsin, aged 20, were wounded by flying shrapnel when the Turkish Military shelled Bhere village, where they were guarding their flock of sheep.
  • On 25 May 2021 Turkish Military fired artillery at farmers irrigating their fields in Dishishe village, the shrapnel injuring 20-year-old Bawer Ahmed.

The Turkish Armed Forces have burnt almost 5,500 acres (22,500 Dunams) of farmland in Kani Masi villages due to Operation Claw-Lightning.

  • Turkish Armed Forces have started fires through bombardments, shooting and the deliberate use of fire-starting tools.
  • On CPT Iraqi Kurdistan’s visit to Kani Masi on 20 June 2021, villagers reported that the fires burning were started by both bombardments and Turkish soldiers entering the village at night to deliberately set fire to areas of farmland.
  • On 27 July 2021, Turkish soldiers shot firearms directly into the village of Hirure from their new military base, burning 165 acres (670 Dunams) of farmland.
  • As of 28 July, according to the Mayor of Kani Masi, Turkish military attacks on the farming and pastoral communities of the Kani Masi sub-district have caused an estimated 6 billion Iraqi Dinars (approximately 4 million USD) in economic damage.
A hillside in Hirure on 27 July 2021, still burning with fires started by Turkish military bombardments. Photo credit: Ayad Hrure
A hillside in Hirure on 27 July 2021, still burning with fires started by Turkish military bombardments. Photo credit: Ayad Hrure

As a result of the Military Operation Claw-Lighting, more than 1500 civilians fled their homes in Avashin and Kani Masi regions.

  • Seven villages in the Kani Masi Region (Kesta, Chalke-Christiana, Dishishe, Adne, Ura, Seraro and Miska) and sixteen villages in the Avashin Region have been completely evacuated.
  • Two churches have been closed, one in Miska, damaged in a bombardment, and one in Chalke-Christiana.
  • One school, one hospital and several mosques have been closed.

Two projects providing essential water to villages in Kani Masi have been destroyed.

  • On 17 August, Turkish military forces bombed Hrure, Baziv and Kesta villages, destroying the water pipes for Baziv village.
  • At the beginning of the operation, Turkish Armed Forces bombarded a water project in Adne, destroying the system that provides water to nine villages.

Damage due to the Turkish Armed Forces bombing has caused major electricity outages eight times.

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