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Turkish warplanes launch heavy shelling on Kurdish villages in northern Iraq

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
In this file picture, an F-16 Fighting Falcon of the Turkish Air Force takes off on a sortie from an air base during Exercise Anatolian Eagle, in Konya, Turkey. (Photo by the Turkish Defense Ministry)

Amid Turkey's ongoing military operation targeting purported positions of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group in Iraq's semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan, Turkish fighter jets launched a string of airstrikes on border villages in the area on Wednesday. 

A military source, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told Iraq’s Shafaq News Agency that Turkish warplanes struck PKK hideouts in Kilka village, which lies in the Kani Masi district of Duhok province on Wednesday.

The source added that a massive fire broke out in gardens and agricultural lands around the village following the air raids.

There were no immediate reports about casualties and the extent of damage as a result of the strikes.

The development came only two days after Turkish military aircraft pounded PKK strongholds in the Mawat sub-district of Sulaymaniyah city, situated on the eastern flank of the Kurdistan region.

 Kamran Hasan, a local official, said in a press release that Turkish warplanes heavily bombarded the villages of Galala, Sefri and Jabal Asus.

Terrified women and children could be seen running for cover as airstrikes hit the areas, he added.

Turkey launched Operation Claw-Lock in April to target the hideouts of PKK terrorists in Iraq’s northern Metina, Zap and Avasin-Basyan areas.

It was initiated after cross-border Operations Claw-Tiger and Claw-Eagle to root out terrorists hiding in border areas close to Turkey and plotting attacks.

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.

In response, the Turkish military has occupied areas in northern Iraq, where it regularly conducts attacks against purported PKK positions without the Arab country's consent. Baghdad has repeatedly condemned Ankara's ongoing military operations in northern Iraq.

 Iraqi resistance groups have also time and again warned Turkey of the consequences of its incursions into their country.

Back on July 20, Turkey carried out a strike against the Iraqi hill village of Parakh in the Zakho district of Dohuk province, killing at least nine tourists, including children and women, and wounding more than 20 others.

Authorities in Iraq insist that the attack was carried out by Turkish forces and that they are responsible for the deaths and injuries of Iraqi civilians, while Ankara says the country’s forces did not attack civilians.


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