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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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KHRP Condemns Air strikes on Villages in Kurdistan, Iraq

Sersenk, Northern Iraq - Note villages & surrounding lands scorched by Turkish artillery

KHRP condemns the air raids carried out yesterday by the Turkish air force in the Qandil mountains of Kurdistan, Iraq.

Although purportedly aimed at terrorist bases, the attacks —reportedly carried out by up to 50 Turkish fighter aircraft overnight— caused widespread destruction of civilian homes and property and have resulted in at least one civilian death.   

As observed by a KHRP fact-finding mission to the border regions last month, the area has suffered months of Turkish and Iranian artillery bombardment, causing the destruction of homes and farmland, and causing enormous distress to civilians, particularly children. Yesterday’s air raids mark a step up in the intensity of Turkish bombardment of the regions, and have resulted in the first confirmed civilian death.  In addition, simultaneous strikes by the Iranian military in neighbouring areas of the mountainous region were also reported.

Commenting on news of the air strikes KHRP Executive Director Kerim Yildiz stated: “International law provides for any nation’s right to self defence, but it equally sets out the rules for such actions.  Yesterday’s air raids by Turkey flouted all relevant protocol and procedure required, showing an utter disrespect for Iraqi sovereignty and the safety and welfare of civilians. The killing of civilians and the indiscriminate destruction of their homes and property are a gross violation of the Geneva conventions.  Such action is utterly disproportionate to any claim of ‘combating terrorism’.”

KHRP calls on the international community to swiftly and openly condemn this act of aggression.  This recent escalation demonstrates how the failure to do so will result in further civilian suffering and growing insecurity in what has been the most stable part of Iraq in recent years.