International peace and freedom delegation visiting Iraq condemns Turkish military operation in Kurdistan Region, calls for international community to do more to end it
SULAYMANIYAH, Iraq — Members of the 16-nation International Peace and Freedom Delegation met with members of the Iraqi Parliament in Sulaymaniyah, Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) on Monday.
At its meeting, the delegation focused on the Turkish military operation in the KRI which it described as dangerous for locals and the integrity of the KRI.
At a press conference following the meeting, Bakhtiar Shawis, a member of the National Union bloc in parliament, called for resolving the Kurdish issue in Turkey through dialogue and peace.
Muthanna Amin, a member of the Islamic Union party bloc, said the federal government should take a serious stand towards Turkish intervention and prevent internal strife among its components.
Birze Withoft, a member of the international delegation, called on the international community and Human Rights Watch to take a stand against the Turkish attacks and do more to end them.
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.