Residents of 10 villages displaced by Turkish offensive in northern Iraq

Source: Xinhua| 2020-06-17 19:23:34|Editor: huaxia

BAGHDAD, June 17 (Xinhua) -- The residents of ten Iraqi villages near the border with Turkey were displaced due to a military offensive by the Turkish forces on Wednesday on suspected positions of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in northern Iraq, the Iraqi official television reported.

The Turkish artillery and aircraft bombardment on border areas of Zakho, Haftanin and nearby villages forced the residents of ten villages to leave their homes to safer areas, the state-run Iraqiya channel said.

Earlier in the day, the Turkish Defense Ministry announced the launch of a new operation dubbed "Operation Tiger-Claw" two days after launching a series of airstrikes on PKK suspected positions in northern Iraq.

The Turkish special forces conducted an airborne operation on the area of Haftanin in the Iraqi Duhok province to combat PKK elements. The commandos were supported by helicopters and drones, according to the Turkish statement.

The operation came a day after the Iraqi Foreign Ministry summoned the Turkish Ambassador Fatih Yildiz to Baghdad and handed him a letter of protest over the latest airstrikes on suspected PKK elements in northern Iraq.

A statement by the ministry said "the letter included a condemnation by the Iraqi government to the violations of Iraq's sovereignty and its airspace."

The ministry reiterated its call on Turkey to "stop unilateral military operations, and expressed the Iraqi government's readiness for cooperation in controlling borders," it added.

On Monday, the Iraqi Joint Operations Command condemned in a statement a series of airstrikes conducted by 18 Turkish warplanes late on Sunday night on refugee camps in Sinjar, some 100 km west of Nineveh's provincial capital Mosul, and Makhmour, about 60 km southeast of Mosul.

Also on Monday, the Turkish Ministry of Defense announced that the Turkish jets bombed positions of PKK militants across northern Iraq as part of the ongoing Claw-Eagle Operation.

Turkish forces frequently carry out ground operations, airstrikes and artillery bombardments against the positions of the PKK militants in northern Iraq, especially the Qandil Mountains, the main base of the PKK.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union. Enditem