Turkish airstrikes are killing Kurdish groups in Syria and Iraq

The Kurdish flag The Kurdish flag Levi Meir Clancy via Unsplash

20 November 2022

Civilian deaths were reported by Kurdish authorities as a result of numerous airstrikes carried out by Ankara

Since 20 November, Turkey has been launching deadly airstrikes over the northern regions of Syria and Iraq. The strikes were carried out in Kobani, Tal Rifat, Cizire and Derik in Syria, and Qandil, Asos and Hakurk in Iraq. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the attacks, targeting two villages populated with internally displaced people, resulted in at least 31 casualties and the destruction of some facilities in northern Syria, while at least 32 people were killed in northern Iraq.

89 sites were reportedly targeted between Tal Rifat and the Qandil mountains, including Kobani, a strategic Kurdish-majority town that Ankara had already attempted to take. As a matter of fact, since 2016, Turkey has conducted three incursions into northern Syria against the People’s Protection Units (YPG), while it carries out regular airstrikes in northern Iraq against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is officially considered a terrorist organization by Ankara, the United States and the European Union.

According to the declarations of the Turkish defence ministry, the strikes were launched in retaliation for the November 13 bomb attack in Istanbul, for which Ankara holds the PKK and the YPG responsible. The Kurdish groups, however, have both denied involvement.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) commander invited people to stay home and stick to the security forces’ instructions. “We are making every effort to avoid a major catastrophe. If war erupts, all will be affected,” he declared. The United States is calling for a de-escalation of the conflict in Syria, which is seen as a potential threat in the continued fight against the Islamic State, of which Kurds have been on the front line: in the words of the Syrian Women’s Protecion Units (YPJ), “the people who fought the Daesh terrorist organisation are now under attack by Turkish warplanes.”


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by Laura Maschio



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