News   /   Iraq

UN Security Council slams attack on Iraqi Kurdistan, reiterates support for Iraq's sovereignty

People gather outside a hospital following Turkish shelling in the city of Zakho in the north of Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region on July 20, 2022. (File photo by AFP)

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has strongly denounced the recent attack on a tourist resort in Iraq's northern, semi-autonomous Kurdistan region that Baghdad blames on Turkey.

“The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the attack in Duhok province of Iraq on July 20,” said the statement by UNSC President Ronaldo Costa Filho on Monday.

The statement added that the members of the Security Council "also expressed their support for the Iraqi authorities in their investigations, calling on all member states to cooperate with Baghdad in this regard."

The attack on the district of Zakho on Wednesday killed at least nine Iraqi tourists, including a child, and wounded 20 others.

Turkey, which has many military bases in northern Iraq and often carries out cross-border military operations without the Arab country's consent, has denied it was behind Wednesday's attack that claimed civilian lives, adding that it targets militants from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party or PKK.

Baghdad has repeatedly condemned Ankara's military operations in northern Iraq.

Militants of the PKK — designated as a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States, and the European Union — regularly engage in clashes with Turkish forces in the Kurdish-dominated southeast of Turkey attached to northern Iraq.

The UNSC statement said the members of the Council urged all member states "to cooperate actively with the government of Iraq and all other relevant authorities in support of these investigations,"  

"The members of the Security Council reiterated their support for the independence, sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity, democratic process, and prosperity of Iraq," it hastened to add.

The statement comes as Baghdad has filed a complaint against Turkey at the UNSC, requesting an urgent session to discuss the deadly artillery attack that Baghdad blames on Turkey, the Iraqi foreign ministry said on Saturday.

The ministry spokesman Ahmad al-Sahaf said Iraq's chargé d'affaires had been recalled from Ankara in the wake of the attack. Iraq's parliament also held a special session Saturday, with lawmakers deciding to form a committee to investigate the matter further.

Authorities in Iraq insist that the attack was carried out by Turkish forces, holding them directly responsible for the deaths and injuries of Iraqi civilians. Ankara has attributed the attack to members of the PKK terrorist group.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday again denied Ankara’s involvement in the attack, accusing the PKK of being behind the shelling.

“This once again showed us the PKK's true face,” he said, blaming it on the "terrorists" who seek to harm Turkey-Iraq ties.

Speaking to state broadcaster TRT Haber, Erdogan said Ankara had informed its NATO allies and Iraqi authorities of its position on the attack and added that he called on Iraq not to fall for the propaganda by Kurdish militants.

According to Rudaw media outlet, the UNSC is scheduled to hold an emergency meeting on the attack on Tuesday at Iraq’s request.

Iraq’s foreign ministry on Monday said the international support would enhance its position at the UNSC.

Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi also called on the United Nations and the international community "to listen to the Iraqi point of view in this regard, in a way that enhances Iraq's sovereignty over its lands and protects its citizens." 

Last week, the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) also condemned the shelling and called for a "thorough investigation".

“Civilians are once again suffering the indiscriminate effects of explosive weapons. Under international law, attacks must not be directed at the civilian population”, said the UNAMI statement.

“UNAMI, therefore, calls for a thorough investigation to determine the circumstances surrounding the attack and emphasizes that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Iraq must be respected at all times.”

Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

Press TV News Roku