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Turkish warplanes continue to bombard northern Iraq despite global outcry

Abdul Ameer al-Shammari, deputy commander of Iraq's military Joint Operation Command, and Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein inspect the site of a Turkish attack on a mountain resort in the northern province of Dohuk, Iraq, on July 20, 2022. (Photo by Reuters)

Turkish warplanes again launched an aerial attack on an area in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region of northern Iraq, a fortnight after artillery bombardment against a tourist resort in the same district caused multiple casualties. 

Kurdish-language media outlets reported that Turkish fighter jets targeted the Amadiya district in the northern Iraqi province of Dohuk on Wednesday. 

There were no immediate reports about possible casualties and the extent of damage caused after the bombardment. 

The aerial attack came a day after Shafaq News reported that Turkish jets had repeatedly struck the outskirts of Sekiri village in the Amadiya district.

On July 20, at least four missiles hit the resort area of Barakh in the Zakho district of the Kurdistan region, killing at least nine tourists and wounding more than 20, local officials and the Iraqi army said at the time. All the victims were Iraqi citizens.

The victims reportedly included Iraqi tourists who had come to the area to escape sweltering temperatures in southern parts of the country.

The aerial aggression sparked global outcry with many countries calling on Ankara to respect Iraq's territorial integrity and sovereignty.

The members of the UN Security Council also condemned the attack in “strongest terms”, said the UN statement.  

“The members of the Security Council expressed their deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government of Iraq and the Iraqi Kurdistan Region,” the statement added.

Following the attack that sent shock waves across the region, 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 wrote on his Twitter page, condemning the harm caused to “the life and security” of Iraqi citizens.

“Iraq reserves the right to retaliate against this aggression 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 surged ever since.

More than 40,000 people have been killed in the three-decade conflict between Turkey and the autonomy-seeking militant group.

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