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Turkish jets pound Iraqi Kurdistan amid growing calls for investigations over alleged chemical attacks

TURKISH jets continued to pound Kurdish villages in Qandil and other parts of Iraqi Kurdistan today, amid growing demands for investigations over its alleged use of chemical weapons.

Missiles struck a number of villages in simultaneous attacks at around 10.30am local time, according to eyewitnesses, although no casualties were reported.

Ankara’s five-month bombing and ground invasion has continued and met with silence from the international community and global media organisations.

This is despite a growing charge sheet of alleged war crimes, including two missile strikes on a UN-administered refugee camp, the bombing of a hospital and the assassination of a Yazidi commander.

But it is the alleged use of chemical weapons — a clear violation of international law — that has led to calls for Turkey to be held to account.

Earlier this year, a Morning Star exposé on the alleged use of chemical weapons against guerilla fighters was cited by Turkey’s opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) as it called for a parliamentary commission of inquiry to investigate.

But unsurprisingly the request was rejected, with the speaker of Turkey’s Grand Assembly dismissing the notion as vulgar.

On Thursday, Germany’s left-wing Die Linke party raised the issue of Turkey’s alleged use of chemical weapons in the Bundestag.

Parliamentarian Gokay Akbulut asked the German government to take action, break its silence and reveal what it knows about Turkey’s Operation Claw Lightning, launched in April.

“Germany, for example, might urge the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to take action,” she said.

But the organisation, which monitors compliance with the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention, has until now remained largely silent on the issue.

It remained unmoved by protests outside its headquarters in the Hague last week as Kurdish groups demanded it act to prevent a genocide being carried out by the Turkish state.

Organisation officials have failed to respond to numerous requests for comment, despite being presented with footage of alleged chemical attacks by the Morning Star.

According to Kurdish officials, Turkey has launched hundreds of chemical attacks during its military offensive.

But this has not been independently verified and only anecdotal evidence has been presented to back the claims.

Previous alleged chemical attacks however have also been brushed off by the international community.

In one incident the chemical weapons watchdog reversed a decision to investigate Turkey’s use of white phosphorus in an attack on a civilian population in Sere Keniye, northern Syria.

After receiving a donation of €30,000 (£25,000) from Turkey, the watchdog concluded that such probe fell outside its remit.

Both parties said the timing was coincidental and denied any wrongdoing.

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