Uncovering 30 years of Turkish and Iranian bombardments

CPT Iraqi Kurdistan is embarking on a project to document the civilian impact of Turkish and Iranian cross-border bombings in Iraqi Kurdistan since 1990
Kak Hasan and Kak Hussein from Qaladze village sit together on a sofa, telling the story of the massacre that occurred on 6 August 1994

On 6 August 1994, a single artillery shell fired from Iran hit the courtyard of Kak Hasan Ali’s house in Qaladze, Iraqi Kurdistan. It landed among friends and family members, who were taking advantage of a lull in Iranian bombardments and the ongoing Kurdish civil war to get water from Hasan’s well. Twenty-one people were killed, including pregnant women and children and at least nine more severely injured.

Kak Hasan’s house has since been repaired, but the home’s memory of the event had resurfaced as a large crack running along the exterior wall from where the shell had struck. “It took ten tanks of water to wash away the blood from here,” said Kak Hasan during CPT-IK‘s first visit in June 2023. Like the house, lives can be rebuilt, but the underlying damage can’t be easily taken away. Kak Hussein Ali, Kak Hasan’s twin brother who lives next door told CPT, “We have been waiting 29 years for someone to listen to our story. In the beginning, people would visit us, but they would talk and not listen. Even if we can’t get compensation, you listening to our stories has halved our pain.”

Early this year, the CPT-IK team began a project to collect data on communities in northern Iraq that have been affected by Turkish and Iranian cross-border bombardments since 1990. The team has since amassed nearly 2,000 cases of violence against civilians. Each case entry is an individual, a human being—someone’s daughter or son, friend, partner, or sibling.

While collecting details of those affected, CPT-IK has uncovered significant incidents, such as in Qaladze, long forgotten by the broader community. The impacts of these bombardments are ever-present with the survivors, families, and their close-knit community groups. It is important that these individuals are known and heard.

Pray that no other families must endure this tragedy or wait 29 years for acknowledgement and justice. Pray for the victims, survivors and family members of the 6 August massacre in Qaladze. Pray that the voices of the underheard, silenced and oppressed become roars heard around the world.

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