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Published On: Sun, Sep 24th, 2017

Turkish air force attacked Kurds in Kurdistan Autonomous Region of Iraq

nsnbc : Turkey’s General Staff, on September 24, one day before the scheduled independence referendum in the Kurdistan Autonomous Region of Iraq, admitted that Turkish military jets have destroyed weapons depots and positions used by the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) in northern Iraq.

F-16_Turkey_Turkish Air Force_(archives)In a statement released by the General Staff on September 24 it was admitted that an airstrike in the Gara region, on September 23, destroyed arms and ammunitions depots used by PKK militants. In its statement, the Turkish General Staff also admitted that the raids were part of ongoing operations targeting the PKK in northern Iraq. Turkey is conducting similar operations against the PYD and its military wings, the YPG and YPJ in northern Syria.

In a separate incident, a Turkish soldier and a worker were killed and two other soldiers were wounded on September 23 in an attack allegedly carried out by militants of the PKK in the southeastern province of Hakkari’s Şemdinli district. The claim was made by the Hakkari Governor’s Office.

The PKK militants reportedly fired rocket and mortars from the Iraqi side onto the Turkish village of Tekeli on the border, the governor’s office said in a statement. Meanwhile, Turkish security forces killed 17 PKK militants in operations in the last 24 hours, the Interior Ministry said on September 23.

Kurdistan Referendum_Iraq_Aug 2017All of the above mentioned incidents occurred after Turkey, one week before the scheduled independence referendum in the Kurdistan Autonomous Region (KAR) launched a “surprise military exercise” on its border to northern Iraq. Moreover, Turkey has since then up scaled the “exercise”  and discusses military responses to the referendum with the General Staff of Iraq and Iran.

Moreover, according to a statement by the defense ministry, Turkish security forces carried out counter-terrorism operations in the southeastern and eastern provinces of Mardin, Hakkari, Batman, Van, and Elazig over the last 24 hours. During the operations, six militants, each in Mardin and Elazig, were killed, and three militants were killed in Van.

Security forces also killed one militant each in the Hakkari and Batman provinces, the statement said.   A number of weapons and pieces of ammunition were also seized during the operations, it added.

Separately, security forces reportedly seized around three tons of hashish and 190,000 roots of cannabis sativa with a market value of about 102 million Turkish Liras (around $29 million) in an operation launched against PKK militants in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, the local governor’s office said in a statement on September 24.

“Within the boundaries of the seven villages of the Lice district [of Diyarbakır] 3,132.55 kilograms of hashish and 190,000 roots of cannabis sativa with a market value of almost 102 million liras were seized. As per the instruction of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the hashish was taken under protection, whereas the cannabis sativa was destroyed at the place of the incident after a sample was taken,” the Diyarbakır Governor’s Office said.

During the four-day-long operations conducted between September 20 and 23 in Diyarbakır’s Lice, Hazro, and Silvan districts, eight caves and shelters belonging to the PKK militants were destroyed, the statement also said.

PKK Photo, James Gordon

PKK Photo 2013 , James Gordon

The Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) withdrew its armed forces from Turkey to the Kurdistan Autonomous Region (KAR) of northern Iraq in 2013. The withdrawal was part of a ceasefire agreement and an agreement on peace talks between the Turkish State represented by the AKP government, and the PKK.

In 2015 Turkey’s AKP government unilaterally ended the ceasefire and peace talks and began “anti-terrorism” operations in Turkey. The so-called anti-terrorism operations led to international calls for war crimes investigations and investigations into severe human rights abuses.

Turkey has significantly increased its so-called anti-terrorism operations in northern Iraq as it became evident that the Kurdistan Autonomous Region would not back down with regard to holding the referendum on September 25. Turkey has also increased its operations against the PYD – YPG/YPJ in northern Syria. Turkey considers the PYD – YPG/YPJ as terrorist organizations allied and on par with the PKK.

CH/L – nsnbc 24.09.2017

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