Turkey kills one PKK fighter, one civilian in Duhok governorate airstrike: local official

Civilian death toll in Turkish offensive reaches six

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SULAIMANI — Turkish warplanes struck two vehicles in Duhok’s Bamarne sub-district on Sunday afternoon (July 26) and killed one Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighter and one civilian, a local official said.

At least six civilians have now been killed in Turkish airstrikes, including five in Duhok governorate, since the beginning of the campaign. The sixth was killed in northern Erbil governorate.

The sub-district’s mayor Hamid Zuber told NRT that the bombing took place on the road between Hasnpirka and Shirte at approximately 4 p.m. local time.

The civilian victim was the resident of Kashane village in Zakho’s Batifa sub-district, Zuber said.

NRT Digital Media reporter Nihad Oramari said that the security forces closed off the main road in the area, which is located in northern Duhok governorate, preventing residents from reaching the location of the bombing.

Firefighting teams were able to extinguish a blaze that resulted from the bombing, Zuber added.

A large number of Zeravani forces were dispatched to Bamarne area over the past several days, according to local reports.

Turkey launched a renewed campaign of air and ground operations in the Kurdistan Region and northern Iraq in mid-June, code-named Operation Claw-Eagle and Operation Claw-Tiger, which it says is necessary to combat the PKK.

The airstrike represents at least the third incident where civilians were killed or seriously injured in strikes where fighters from the PKK or affiliated groups were killed. The other two occurred near Shiladze in Duhok on June 19, in which at least four civilians were killed, and on June 25 in Kuna Masi town, when six civilians were seriously wounded, including two children.

Human Rights Watch said on July 22 that the Turkish military “failed to take adequate precautions to minimize civilian casualties” when it attacked a vehicle carrying fighters belonging to the PKK-linked Party for Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK) when they stopped for supplies at a market in Kuna Masi.

“The Turkish military strike on opposition fighters in a resort area seriously injured several civilians and could have harmed many more,” said HRW’s Senior Crisis and Conflict Researcher Belkis Wille.

“While the fighters were wrong to put the civilians at risk, Turkey also needs to take all practical precautions to limit harm to civilians,” she added.

(NRT Digital Media)

This story was updated at 10:11 p.m. EBL