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Kurdish Human Rights Project: This is the legacy website of the Kurdish Human Rights Project, containing reports and news pertaining to human rights issues in the Kurdish Regions for 20 years.

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Turkish military forces cross Iraqi border resulting in heavy clashes and casualties

The Turkish military has reportedly crossed the border into northern Iraq on Thursday morning and engaged PKK forces, in an escalation of sustained Turkish cross-border military operations, bombardments and air raids since October last year.

According to KHRP sources, Turkish troops and military vehicles have entered northern Iraq in order to conduct military operations against the PKK.  It has been reported that heavy fighting between the Turkish military and PKK have taken place in various areas, especially in the neighbouring Zap and Zagros regions, Kurdistan Regional Governate.  The PKK has already claimed they have killed over 20 members of the Turkish army.  Both the Turkish authorities and Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) have confirmed that the incursion and subsequent armed clashes have taken place, although neither has confirmed nor denied if any casualties have resulted.  KRG President Massoud Barzani is said to have visited the regions where the clashes are occurring.

It has also been reported that the civilian populations in Duhok and Amediye, Kurdistan, Iraq, have staged demonstrations against Turkey's incursion into their cities.  Reports state that civilians are taking measures to block the roads, in order to prevent Turkish troops from advancing further inside Kurdistan, Iraq.  It is believed that the incursion has already reached ten kilometres inside the Kurdistan Regional Governate.

Further reports have suggested that Kurdish Peshmargha fighters have mobilised themselves and have travelled towards the Turkey-Kurdistan, Iraq border, in response to the military incursion.  Turkish artillery bombardments and air strikes are said to be continuing.

On receiving news of the incursion today, KHRP Executive Director Kerim Yildiz stated "Yesterday's military incursion and the ensuing fighting could further deepen the crisis in the Middle East, and merely serve to hinder the development of democracy and human rights reforms in Turkey.  KHRP is particularly concerned about the fate of Iraqi and Turkish civilians, with the likelihood that violent clashes currently taking place will merely exacerbate the internationally-recognised plight of internally displaced persons on both sides of the border.  KHRP strongly condemns the military incursions, on the basis that the imposition of forceful measures will not form a productive solution to this long-standing dispute.  Should Turkish troops seek to advance further into Kurdistan, Iraq, this will simply escalate what are already strained relations between the two states".