PKK fighters stand in formation. (AFP)

April 20, 2021

Turkish warplanes staged airstrikes on Monday against the northern mountainous terrain of Duhok province in Iraqi Kurdistan. Targets hit by the raid are believed to be held by members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

No human casualties were reported, but a security source in the Amedi district told Asharq Al-Awsat that Turkish fighter jets attacked two villages located at the base of mountain Mtein after midnight on Monday.

Speaking under the conditions of anonymity, the source added that another two villages at the base of mountain Karah were also targeted.

“Areas targeted by Turkish raids are uninhabited, so the bombing did not cause any casualties, but it caused panic among the residents of the nearby villages as smoke plumes were seen rising in the area,” they explained.

Hashem Ahmed, a local from Amedi district, reported that Turkish jets could be heard soaring over the region before six explosions went off near the villages of Banavi and Korki.

“Turkish aircrafts usually target any human presence in these areas, which endangers the lives of herders and farmers there,” Ahmed told Asharq Al-Awsat, adding that many pastures and farmlands have been grazed by the raids.

Monday’s raids were the fifth within a week.

For nearly two decades, Turkey has been launching cross-border attacks against what it claims are PKK sites in northern Iraqi Kurdistan.

Civilians living close to borders have been heavily affected by the attacks with at least 50 having been killed in the past three years alone.

“Turkish military operations targeting Iraqi sites under the pretext of ending PKK terrorism are futile,” said political researcher and analyst Saman Noah, explaining that Turkey needs to talk to Kurdish leaders instead of pressing on with its offensive against so-called separatists.

“Killing civilians, destroying homes and grazing farmlands to the ground have not succeeded in wiping the PKK out,” Noah told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Ankara’s ramped up military campaign, according to Noah, included establishing around 20 military outposts and bases inside neighboring Iraq.

More so, Noah pointed out that Turkey did not respond to a recent attack that targeted its base in Bashiqa because it was likely looking to avoid confrontation with Iran-backed forces.

“Ankara knows that expanding operations in Iraq means a confrontation with pro-Iranian factions that have weapons and capabilities that can prove challenging,” said Noah.

Asharq Al-Awsat

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Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.