Two Turkish soldiers killed, one wounded by PKK rocket fire: Turkish defense ministry

Airstrikes continue across Kurdistan Region
Turkish airstrike in Duhok governorate on September 17, 2020 (Photo courtesy of Roj News)

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SULAIMANI — The Turkish Defense Ministry said on Friday (September 18) that two of its soldiers were killed and another wounded by rockets fired by Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighters in the Kurdistan Region.

In its statement, it said that its soldiers had been subjected to “harassment fire” by rocket launchers on Thursday, according to Reuters.

Turkish troops launched Operation Claw-Tiger, a ground operation, and Operation Claw-Eagle, an air operation, in mid-June, which it claims are necessary to combat the PKK in the Kurdistan Region and northern Iraq. Limited parts of Claw-Tiger wrapped up earlier this month.

On Thursday night, Turkish warplanes bombed targets across Duhok, Erbil and Sulaimani governorates.

In Duhok’s Kani Masi sub-district, an airstrike caused damage to orchards and groves in Kesta village, sparking a brushfire.

Warplanes also bombed the outskirts of Berkma village and the Khwakurk area of Erbil’s Bradost region, again causing damage to orchards.

In Sulaimani’s Pishdar district, Turkey targeted Zewka and Suragla villages in Zhara sub-district. The damage from those strikes was not yet clear.

In a statement released earlier on Thursday, Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative (ICSSI) and Christian Peacemaker Teams-Iraqi Kurdistan called for “a complete and total ceasefire by Turkey, the withdrawal of all Turkey troops and the dismantling of its military installations in Iraqi Kurdistan.”

“The destruction of homes and the devastation of agricultural lands this bombing causes has made life for villagers near impossible, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. Many have had their livelihoods destroyed and, despite the risks of the Covid-19 pandemic, have been forced to flee their homes to seek safety,” it added.

At least nine civilians have been killed in Turkish airstrikes since June 15 and 99 total since 2015, according to CPT.

Reuters also reported that the Turkish Interior Ministry said in a separate statement that 71 PKK fighters had been killed since July 13 as part of a series of operations within Turkey, dubbed the “Lightning Operations,” and added 38 collaborators had been captured.

(NRT Digital Media/Reuters)