ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Turkey’s ongoing military operation in the Kurdistan Region’s border areas and clashes with fighters of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) have caused substantial material damages to rural populations, local officials said Saturday.
A video shared with Kurdistan 24, which a nearby resident filmed at one of the areas that were the site of a recent engagement between Turkish forces and PKK members in Duhok province, showed the Duhok countryside and grazing fields near the border in flames.
Local sources have told Kurdistan 24 that due to the latest bout of confrontations, which began with Ankara’s so-called Claw-Tiger and Claw-Eagle aerial and ground operations against the PKK, massive fires have torn through 100 acres of land. One source stated that some of the flames are still ongoing.
Ziravan Musa, the mayor of Darkar town located near the Turkish border, said on Saturday that Turkish forces had used machine guns during their operations, “causing considerable damages to property, burning hundreds of acres of agricultural lands, forests, and farms of villagers.”
Earlier Saturday, the former Iraqi foreign minister and member of the political bureau of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), Hoshyar Zebari, said that the latest Turkish campaign is “a very dangerous geopolitical development.”
The PKK is engaged in a decades-long insurgency against Turkey over Kurdish rights and self-rule that has resulted in the death of over 40,000 people on both sides. The group is headquartered in the Kurdistan Region’s Zagros Mountains, along the Turkish and Iranian borders.
In recent years, Turkey has carried out military operations against PKK fighters based in the Kurdistan Region with continued regularity, with troops sometimes crossing into the region up to 20 kilometres deep to target the guerilla group.
Turkey has intensified its air and artillery shelling of border areas within the Kurdistan Region since the beginning of this week.
During its bombings, Ankara has killed dozens of civilians unaffiliated to the PKK and has caused extensive damage to residences, farms, and killed locals’ livestock.
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) last Friday condemned a Turkish airstrike earlier in the day in Duhok’s Shiladze district that claimed four civilian lives.