More than 500 villages evacuated due to Turkish operations in Kurdistan Region of Iraq

ANKAWA, Iraq – On 29 June, several Iraqi committees were assigned to provide statistics about the damage and losses caused by the Turkish and Iranian military actions in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI).

Turkey in particular continues its attacks in the KRI claiming it is targeting members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The attacks left civilian casualties and injuries in addition to considerable damage to the territory of the region.

Since mid-June, Turkey has engaged in a cross-border military operation ostensibly targeting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party which has been in armed conflict with the Turkish state since the 1980s. However, Turkish drone and air strikes have repeatedly targeted areas without a PKK presence, according to locals.

Human Rights Watch has criticized Turkey for the carelessness of its military operation which has killed over a dozen civilians and displaced thousands more, many of whom are Chaldean–Syriac–Assyrian Christians and Yezidis.

The fact-finding committees visited various border areas in Erbil, Sulaymaniyah, Halabja, Nohadra (Duhok), and Shengal (Sinjar). The reports showed that Turkey has entered into Iraqi territory up to 15 km from the border.

The committees also counted 504 villages evacuated due to repeated shelling and air strikes by Turkish forces, including many Syriac–Assyrian villages. Moreover, Turkish military operations have resulted in dozens of deaths and injuries of civilians in various areas of the KRI.