Turkish airstrikes leave Christian village in Zakho deserted

Originally published by Rudaw on 1 September 2020. Here

ZAKHO — The Christian village of Sheranish, in the Kurdistan Region district of Zakho, has been left deserted by Turkey’s ongoing military operations in the area.

Residents have abandoned their homes in the village after several airstrikes hit the village in the space of two months.

“This is our village, the village of Sheranish. They set fire to all of our farms, and they bombed the area around the village, they even bombed the village. So we left the village and escaped,” villager Amir Nissan said.

Some of Sheranish’s residents, like Ivan Hikmet, have been displaced more than once by long-term violence in Iraq.

“We were displaced from Baghdad. We came here. Our village was rebuilt, so we stayed in. We bought this house, furnished it, settled in, assuming it was safe and the village is a Christian village. Then we were displaced because of (the fighting between) Turkey and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).” Hikmet said. “We came here to see what’s left and what’s become of the house, and this is it.”

Located close to the border with Turkey, Zakho is at risk due to PKK and Turkish force crossfire.

Many other villages in the area have also been evacuated due to the ongoing Turkish operations.

The Turkish army’s latest round of air and ground operations on the Kurdistan Region began in June, with the stated aim of hitting PKK targets in the area. Turkey has since established 12 outposts in the Kurdistan Region district of Zakho.

The PKK has fought an armed struggle for increased Kurdish rights in Turkey for decades.

For Video: Rudaw.net