Turkish artillery strikes suspected PKK positions in Zakho, Kurdistan

Turkish artillery fire targeted the mountainous areas of Zakho, Duhok province on Sunday, local officials confirmed. There are currently no reports of casualties.

“At 8:30am today, Turkish artillery bombed Mount Khamtiri in Darkari town in Zakho,” Botan Sindi, a resident of Darkari, told Rudaw. “The huge sounds of the bombs caused fear among locals.”

“The scale of the damage is unknown since the targeted area is mountainous,” he added.

Zeravan Musa, the mayor of Darkar, said: “Turkey regularly bombs the region.”

“Today they launched artillery fire against the mountain twice, the first one at 8:30 and the other 9:05am,” he confirmed.

Turkey regularly carries out airstrikes and ground operations against suspected Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) positions inside the Kurdistan Region.

Turkey launched ‘Operation Claw’ in late May targeting PKK positions in northern Erbil.

In addition to Zakho, the town of Amedi often sees Turkish airstrikes.

Earlier this month Turkish jets bombed suspected PKK positions on Kurazhar Mountain near the town of Shiladze in Amedi.

There are 348 villages in the area surrounding the town of Amedi. Of these, 198 have stood empty for the past 20 years after Turkish strikes forced residents to evacuate.

The PKK is an armed group fighting for greater political and cultural rights for Kurds in Turkey. It has been at war with the Turkish state since the 1980s.

The guerrilla group is headquartered in the mountains of Qandil in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq near the border with Turkey and Iran.

Civilians are routinely caught in the crossfire. Villagers in Duhok stormed a Turkish air force outpost in January after airstrikes killed six civilians.

Both Erbil and Baghdad have called on Ankara to halt its attacks and have demanded the PKK withdraw from their territory.

Iraqi President Barham Salih “stressed the need to safeguard Iraqi sovereignty and rejected any unilateral military action beyond Iraq’s borders,” when he met with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul in May.

At least 4,356 people have been killed in the conflict since July 20, 2015 when the latest attempt at peace talks collapsed, according to the International Crisis Group (ICG).