A top Iraqi anti-terror group has called on the parliament to take practical measures in response to Turkey's strikes against a tourist resort in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region of northern Iraq.
The Turkish attack carried out on Wednesday killed at least nine people, including children, and wounded more than 20 others.
In a statement on Friday, Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq resistance group said repeated acts of aggression and continuous violation of the Iraqi sovereignty, occupation of the country’s territories and establishment of military bases, and shedding the blood of Iraqi civilians are far away from the principle of good neighborliness and international conventions
The group called for a unified stance from the government, the parliament and political factions in the country.
The statement highlighted that there was a pre-2003 agreement between Ankara and Baghdad that temporarily permitted Turkish military forces, under certain circumstances, to cross five kilometers over the border in pursuit of members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militant group for a limited period in coordination with the Iraqi government.
However, in 2009, the Iraqi parliament “canceled” all agreements permitting Turkish troop to enter the country.
The group also urged the Iraqi parliament to work towards expulsion of all Turkish forces, and put an end to the presence of any military bases or garrisons in Iraq, which hosts foreign troops.
It demanded close adherence to constitutional provisions, which does not allow the use of Iraqi territory as a launch pad for hostile attacks against neighboring countries.
The resistance group emphasized that the Baghdad government should not stop at lodging a complaint at the United Nations, and should call for an emergency session of the UN Security Council in order to make Turkish soldiers leave the Iraqi soil, and demand indemnities for Ankara’s repeated violations and subsequent civilian casualties.
Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq called for political and economic decisions that will require Turkey to respect the sovereignty of Iraq and the Arab’s country's right to the inflow of water.
It finally emphasized that the resistance group will join the Iraqi nation and popular movements to confront Turkish occupation and the repeated targeting of innocent people if the parliament fails to adopt the aforementioned measures.
Meanwhile, Qais al-Khazali, the leader of the Iraqi Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq resistance group, said, “Ankara will have to pay heavy price for shedding the blood of innocent Iraqi people if Turkish forces do not issue an official apology and shoulder responsibility for the attack."
“We will avenge the bloodshed and impose sanctions against Turkey, which is trying to occupy northern Iraq. Iraqis have the power to defend their country. [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan should give up the dream of occupying Mosul,” he told the Arabic-language al-Jazeera television news network.
Khazali expressed hope that “the Iraqi parliament will pass a resolution on the need for the immediate withdrawal of Turkish forces from the country.”
Iraqi resistance groups are ready to implement the decisions of the nation and the parliament.
Elsewhere in his remarks, the Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq chief warned about the Israeli regime’s attempt to expand its influence across Iraq.
“Israeli operatives are now present in the capital Baghdad, as well as areas in Basra, Nineveh and Anbar province under different titles. Their activities are not limited to Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan region,” he said.
At least four missiles hit the resort area of Barakh in the Zakho district of the Kurdistan region, district mayor Mushir Mohammed told The Associated Press on Wednesday. All the casualties were Iraqi citizens.
The victims reportedly included Iraqi tourists who had come to the area to escape sweltering temperatures further south in the country.
Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi dispatched the country’s Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein and top security officials to the site, and ordered an investigation into the incident.
“Turkish forces have perpetrated once more a flagrant violation of Iraqi sovereignty,” Kadhimi said, condemning the harm caused to “the life and security” of Iraqi citizens."
“Iraq reserves the right to retaliate against these aggressions and take all necessary measures to protect our people,” he added.
Turkey launched a new cross-border incursion into Iraq, dubbed Operation Claw-Lock, in April. The air-and-ground military attacks target suspected strongholds of the members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militant group in Zab, Basiyan, Avasheen, and Korajiwar districts in the Kurdistan region.
The Iraqi government summoned Turkish ambassador Ali Riza Guney shortly afterward and handed him a “strongly worded” protest note over the offensive, calling it a blatant violation of the Arab country’s sovereignty.
For its part, Ankara also summoned the Iraqi charge d'affaires and warned him that the military operations will continue if Baghdad doesn’t take action against PKK members.
Militants of the PKK — designated as a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States, and the European Union — regularly clash with Turkish forces in the Kurdish-dominated southeast of Turkey attached to northern Iraq.
A shaky ceasefire between the PKK and the Turkish government collapsed in July 2015. Attacks on Turkish security forces have soared ever since.
More than 40,000 people have been killed during the three-decade conflict between Turkey and the autonomy-seeking militant group.