Casualties confirmed as Turkey targets PKK in Iraq and Syria

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The Turkish defence ministry said it carried out strikes in "the regions of Derik, Sinjar and [Mount] Kararak in northern Iraq and Syria" targeting suspected bases of the PKK and the People's Protection Units (YPG), a US-backed Syrian Kurdish group.

Turkish warplanes carried out strikes against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq and Syria, the Turkish defence ministry said Wednesday, with authorities in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region reporting “casualties”.

“Turkish warplanes targeted several positions of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighters” on Tuesday, including in the Makhmur and Sinjar regions, Kurdish counter-terrorism services said, without specifying the number of dead or wounded.

The Turkish defence ministry said it carried out strikes in “the regions of Derik, Sinjar and [Mount] Kararak in northern Iraq and Syria” targeting suspected bases of the PKK and the People’s Protection Units (YPG), a US-backed Syrian Kurdish group that Ankara considers a “terrorist” offshoot of the PKK.

The Turkish attack was carried out by both war planes and drones, and was conducted as part of a wider coordinated military operation dubbed ‘Winter Eagle’ by the Turkish Armed Forces, targeting areas in Iraqi Kurdistan and North East Syria as well.

While the Yazidi villages including Şîlo, Barî, Kurs and Çilmîra and the district of Khana Sor (Xanesor) were targeted in the strike sorties, the attacks took place during the sacred ‘Çila Zivistanê’ festival of the Yazidis.

According to a report by Roj News, the airstrikes followed a meeting between Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, the Iraqi prime minister, and Ali Rıza Güney, Turkey’s ambassador to Iraq.

Hawar News reported that two individuals were killed and dozens were injured in another Turkish attack targeting Makhmur refugee camp in the Iraqi Kurdistan, carried out within the same time interval with the attacks in Sinjar.

Makhmur refugee camp was built by the United Nations and currently houses thousands of Kurdish refugees from Turkey who were displaced during Turkish military’s operations that involved torching and forced evacuation of hundreds of villages in Turkey’s Kurdish-majority provinces.