New Turkish Military Action Threatens Villagers Lives and Communities
On February 10-15, Turkish government carried out a new military offensive, “Claw-Eagle 2”, in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. The Campaign to End Cross-Border Bombings denounces this action, which is a resumption of military activities that have devastated civilians in the region for decades. We call on the governments in Ankara, Baghdad and Erbil as well as the UN to pursue a diplomatic solution to end the fighting.
Civilians living near the Gara mountain, located around 50 kms south of the Turkey-Iraq border, the center of the most recent military activities, described seeing helicopters carrying Turkish troops that flew into the area. For hours afterwards, drones hovered in the sky overhead as fighting and airstrikes in the area took place. The area is largely home to Assyrian Christians, one of Iraq’s minority groups, who have lived there for generations.
The Turkish military has conducted cross-border operations and air raids in northern Iraq for more than 30 years, justifying the operations as its “legitimate” right to “self-defense” against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which they call a terrorist organization. Years of Turkish military operations in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq have killed and injured hundreds of civilians, destroyed their livestock, and agricultural lands, and forced over 500 of entire villages to be abandoned. Thousands of families from these village communities have lost access to their lands, the means of sustenance and livelihoods, and the traditional ways of life that form their cultural identity.
We ask the international community, leaders and politicians, and members of civil society everywhere to demand an end to this humanitarian crisis and violation of international humanitarian law. End Turkey’s cross-border military operations and end the civilian casualties and suffering.