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Turkey targets Kurdish villages as four-month bombardment of Iraqi Kurdistan continues

TURKEY continued its four-month bombardment of Iraqi Kurdistan today with missiles targeting a number of Kurdish villages in the mountainous Duhok province overnight.

Ankara claimed to have struck suspected Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) positions in Hirore village, close to the border with Turkey.

But a PKK source told the Morning Star that the organisation has “no fighters based there,” and accused Turkey of bombing an area full of innocent civilians. 

Turkish helicopters and artillery also struck a number of other villages in the Berwari Bala and Heftanin mountain regions in the early hours.

The air strikes were reported to have targeted agricultural land — Turkey has already destroyed thousands of acres of forest and green land that Kurdish villagers rely on for food.

“Intense bombings carried out by the invading Turkish army caused serious material damage in the settlements, vineyards and gardens belonging to our people,” a PKK statement said today. Houses were destroyed by Turkish shelling, electricity cut and infrastructure was damaged. 

Residents of Berwari Bala were forced to flee their homes due to the intensity of the artillery fire and cattle were slaughtered by the invaders.

Thousands of Kurdish villagers have been driven from their homes since Turkey launched Operation Claw Lightning in April, according to the Christian Peacemakers Team.

The Morning Star has spoken to residents in the affected areas who say that Turkey is carrying out an ethnic cleansing operation in the region supported by jihadists shipped in from Syria and Libya.

Turkish soldiers have met fierce resistance from the Kurdish guerilla fighters, and sources said they had repelled the ground attack that had followed today’s air strikes in the mountainous border region. 

“The Turkish troops could not advance further as a result of the great resistance developed by our forces,” a statement from the PKK press centre said today.

Turkey has been accused of committing war crimes in the course of its military operations, including the use of chemical weapons and drone strikes on the UN-administered Makhmour refugee camp.

And last month, Turkish missiles struck a busy marketplace in the Yazidi region of Shengal, assassinating a military commander who was on his way to meet Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Khadimi.

Days after that attack, Turkish missiles hit a hospital in Shengal, killing eight people, including four health workers.

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