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Mass evacuation in northern Iraq as Turkish forces cross border, mount incursion

A file photo of Turkish military forces

The Turkish military has advanced as far as 15 kilometers (9 miles) into the Iraqi Kurdistan region, conducting hundreds of strikes in the northern region of the Arab country under the pretext of fighting the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militant group, triggering mass evacuations.

Reports said on Sunday that the Turkish operation had prompted evacuations across as many as 602 villages throughout the Iraqi region’s Duhok Province.

The Community Peacemaker Teams (CPT), a US-based monitor, said, “Since the start of the new Turkish military operation, Turkey has conducted 238 bombardments in Iraqi Kurdistan, primarily in the Duhok Province.”

“As a result of Turkish bombardments, more than 20,000 dunams of agricultural lands have burned,” the monitor also noted.

The new operation marked a significant escalation compared to 2021, when Turkish military moved as far as seven kilometers (four miles) into the Iraqi territory.

“The new operation…signifies the depth of Turkish military ground operations into Iraqi Kurdistan,” according to the CPT.

Back in April, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Baghdad, where the two sides signed an agreement that allows Ankara to conduct military operations against the PKK deep within the Iraqi territory in return for Iraq’s receiving increased water flow from Turkey.

The PKK is designated as a terrorist group by Turkey, the US, and the European Union.

More than 40,000 people have been killed during three decades of conflict between Ankara and the autonomy-seeking group.

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