CHALIK, Iraq — After the displacement of residents of the Chaldean–Syriac–Assyrian village of Chalik in the Nohadra (Dohuk) in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) due to recent Turkish attacks, Turkish warplanes and artillery on Sunday again bombed the village.
The Turkish raids and intense bombardment resulted in massive fires in the western part of the village. With most civilians having left, there are few people around to extinguish them.
Fires burn in the Chaldean–Syriac–Assyrian village of Chalik in Nohadra (Duhok) in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq on 16 March 2021. (Village of Chalik / Facebook)
Fleeing the 2014 terrorist attack on the Nineveh Plains by the Islamic State (ISIS), Martha Khoshaba and her family fled the Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian village of Tel Kepe (Tel Kaif) and settled in Chalik village. Now, the Khoshaba family had to flee again, not because of ISIS, but because of the Turkish attacks on the area.
The 71-year-old Marta Khoshaba, was forced to leave Chalik. Her son had to stay in the village to take care of their cattle. “We were fine in Chalik village, but the confrontations between the Turkish army and the Kurdish fighters forced us to leave the village,” said Khochaba to Rudaw. “We no longer know where we will go.”
The Turkish occupation attacked another Chaldean–Syriac–Assyrian village, which was also evacuated. Seven families, however, came back to the village because they had nowhere to go.
Since mid-June, Turkey has engaged in a cross-border military operation ostensibly targeting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) 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.
The repeated Turkish shelling have emptied a number of Christian villages along the Iraqi–Turkish border.
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.
A recent report stated that there are 102,000 Christians living there in Nineveh Plains in 2014, but their numbers have dwindled to 36,000 and could drop further by 2024 if stability and security is not established.