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Eight civilians killed in Turkish strikes

2024-07-07 11:41:22

On June 15th, Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) started a new ground military operation in the Berwaly Bala area - maneuvering inside six villages in the area. On June 25th, Turkey established a checkpoint between Kani Bilave and Babire villages. The following day, Turkey began building seven new military bases in the Shive, Kani Tuia, Zireze, Demka, Bilejan, Korka and Gre Bia villages. Since the new military operation started, Community Peacemaker Teams (CPT) has closely monitored the escalation in the area and documented the impacts of the operation on civilians in the area. Villagers of Dergale Musa Bage informed CPT that on June 27th, Turkish Armed Forces had forced them to leave their village. 

The new operation in the Berwaly Bala area signifies the depth of Turkish military ground operations into Iraqi Kurdistan. Turkish Armed Forces have advanced 15 kms into Iraqi Kurdistan territory. For its previous operation in 2021 codenamed ‘Claw Lightning’, Turkey had only advanced 7 km into Iraqi Kurdistan establishing itself in a village called Hrure. 

Since the start of the new Turkish military operation, Turkey has conducted 238 bombardments in Iraqi Kurdistan, primarily in the Duhok governorate. As a result of Turkish bombardments, more than 20,000 dunams of agricultural lands have burned, primarily in the villages of Guharze, Balave, Barche, Sargale, Kane, and Ashke Dere in the Amedi region. Furthermore, in the village of Sargale approximately 55% of its agricultural land has been burnt by Turkish attacks. Turkish operations in Iraqi Kurdistan place at least 602 villages under the threat of displacement with at least 162 already displaced.

Civilians from Sargale village reported to CPT that on July 4th, a Turkish military force reached their village with approximately 45 armored vehicles and settled behind Sargale village which intensified the clashes between PKK and Turkish Armed forces inside the village. Civilians from Sargale village feared that the presence of Turkish forces and the clashes inside the village led to the displacement of the village.

Between January and July of 2024, Turkey has conducted 1076 attacks in Iraqi Kurdistan. 526 pf these attacks have occurred in the  Duhok governorate with a further 405 in the Erbil governorate, 135 in the Slemani governorate, and 10 in the Ninawa governorate. About 93% of attacks have been conducted by fighter jets. Throughout the year of 2023, Turkish Armed Forces conducted at least 1548 bombardments.

In addition to eight civilians being killed this year, civilian infrastructure has also been destroyed and damaged. In late February, a school in Mizhe village in the Amedi district was targeted by fighter jets and destroyed. In the recent operations a monastery was damaged by fighter jets in Miska village also located in the Amedi district. On the evening of July 4th and July 5th, two Turkish bombs hit civilian houses inside Guharze village and damaged 3 civilian houses and a civilian car.

Community Peacemaker Teams is highly concerned about this escalation of Turkish military operations and its harm to civilians and civilian infrastructure. CPT fears that if the operations continue, hundreds of families will be displaced.

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