Earlier this month, the Turkish Armed Forces twice made attacks on civilian areas in Shengal (Sinjar), Iraq, killing 4 civilians and injuring at least 13 more.
Shengal is the Yezidi territory that ISIS brutally attacked and controlled after the security forces fled the area in 2014. The Sinjar Resistance Units (YBŞ), whose members are predominantly Yezidi, was established to fight ISIS after its assault in 2014. YBŞ controls security in much of the area and is now an official part of the Iraqi Army. They have close ties to the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) after receiving support from them in the fight against ISIS.
On August 16, the Turkish military conducted a drone strike and targeted a vehicle carrying YBŞ personnel inside the city of Shengal. The group was on a diplomatic mission to meet with Iraqi officials as part of President Mustafa Al-Kadhimi’s visit to Shengal. The drone strike killed Seid Hesen, a high commander of YPS, and Essa Xweded, a YBŞ fighter. The three remaining passengers in the car were severely injured.
The explosion from the attack also injured 3 civilians, Mahir Mirza Ali, Media Qasim Simo, and Shamil Abbas Brgis, who were working for GCS (Global Clearance Solutions). GCS is an NGO specialising in de-mining in warzones and the employees were clearing a nearby building of mines left by ISIS in their departure from the city.
Following that, on August 17 Turkey bombed the hospital in Skine village. The hospital was founded in 2016 by the YBŞ after the village was liberated from ISIS. The hospital, converted from an old school building, was serving the civilian population, covid patients, Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), and YBŞ fighters.
The Turkish military directly bombed the hospital, killing 8 people, including 4 healthcare workers; Ali Rasho Khdir, Sehdo Elyas Rasho, Haji Khdir, and Mukhlisa Sedar. As well as 4 YBŞ fighters guarding the hospital; Hamid Sehdon, Khdir Shareef, Rami Al-Salim, and Maithem Khdir Xalaf. Another healthcare worker, Habdi Sleman, was injured from the bombing.
In the aftermath of the attack, as people rushed to help the injured and dying, Turkey bombed the area twice more, injuring 9 more people who were trying to offer aid.
The Turkish presidential office claims to not have targeted a hospital but a PKK base. Local residents of Shengal deny this statement.
Last year on May 26, the Turkish military bombed another hospital in Safra village in the Suleimani governorate of Iraqi Kurdistan. That hospital has been unable to reopen for local residents due to the damage caused by the Turkish military’s assault.
A coalition of NGOs including, CPT, CODEPINK, UPP, and ICSSI condemn the Turkish military attacks on civilians, civilian areas, and medical infrastructure. We call on foreign countries to help with initiatives to rebuild Shengal after the war with ISIS, not contribute to the further destruction of cities and towns.