Two killed, thousands at risk from Turkish bombardments

Turkish Armed Forces have conducted at least 11 bombardments, some up to 200 kilometres inside Iraqi Kurdistan territory

Since 3 April 2023, the Turkish Armed Forces have conducted a series of at least 11 bombardments across the territory of Iraqi Kurdistan. These attacks have killed two civilians and put the lives of several thousand civilians at risk.

In comparison to the general patterns of earlier cross-border attacks, Turkey has been conducting its military attacks much deeper into Iraqi sovereign territory. The most recent targeted areas of Turkish attacks, such as Shekhan and Barzan, are located up to 65 kilometres south of the Iraqi and Turkish borders, while some attacks within the city of Sulaymaniyah and rural areas of Penjwen are up to 200 kilometres from the border.

On 3 April, Turkish forces conducted four airstrikes on Shrin Mountain in the Barzan area of the Erbil governorate, which killed two civilians. Aref Omer (50 years old) and Ahmed Husen (35 years old), were killed while harvesting wild vegetables and foraging for wild plants. Collecting wild plants and harvesting vegetables in the mountains serve as a primary and important source of income for thousands of families living in the mountain regions of Iraqi Kurdistan.

On 7 April, a Turkish drone bombed a convoy of cars within the area of the Sulaymaniyah International Airport, located about 186 kilometres southeast of the Iraqi and Turkish border. According to local and foreign media sources, the commander-in-chief of the Syrian Democratic Forces, Mazloum Abdi, was travelling in the convoy with members of the Coalition Forces. The reports did not state any casualties.

Turkish drones were reported to be flying in the areas of Sinjar (Ninewa governorate), the Nahla Valley (Duhok), Harir (Erbil), and Penjwen (Sulaymaniyah) between 15 and 16 April. In the morning of 15 April, Turkish drones twice bombarded Bekher mountain in the Shekhan district of the Ninewa governorate, about 62 kilometres south of the Iraqi and Turkish border. No civilian casualties were reported. However, the attack occurred in areas near villages used by civilians. At 6:35 p.m., a Turkish drone bombed the Kani Mirani Komary and Sallyawa villages in Penjwen district, located about 200 kilometres southeast of the Iraqi and Turkish border. Five minutes later, a nearby village, Wryawa, was also bombed twice. The airstrikes occurred while villagers were breaking the Ramadan fast. The bombings spread fear among the villagers, who isolated themselves in their homes and remained inside them for fear that more airstrikes might occur.

CPT Iraqi Kurdistan is highly concerned about the intention and conduct of the Turkish Armed Forces to bomb areas inhabited by civilians, as well as their expansion of operations further away from the Iraqi and Turkish border regions. These attacks endanger civilian lives, civilian livelihoods, farmlands, orchards, and the environment. We call on the international community and military partners of Turkey to demand a stop to such operations and the perpetual violation of international law and Iraqi sovereignty, which ultimately harm civilians.

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