Iran launches cross-border drone strikes on Kurdish opposition groups

Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) said Friday it used drones to strike Kurdish opposition groups in border areas between Iran and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq in retaliation for attacks on its forces in northwest Iran earlier this week.

IRGC land forces launched attacks on “active headquarters, shelter, and training” locations on the border between the Kurdistan Region and Iran on Wednesday, the IRGC said in a statement seen by Tasnim, a news agency close to the Guards.

Missile, drone, and artillery units of the IRGC conducted the attacks in which “a large number of the terrorist elements were killed and injured,” it said.

Friday’s operation may be the first recorded case of Iran using drones against Kurdish armed groups in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

Iran started shelling the border areas on Wednesday in retaliation for the death of three Guardsmen in Western Azerbaijan and Kurdistan provinces.

A spokesman for the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) confirmed to Rudaw that the shelling was an act of retaliation.

The IRGC, in its statement, called on the KRG to take Iran’s “warnings seriously” and prevent Kurdish armed groups from sheltering in the Kurdistan Region.

Kurdish groups such as the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (PDKI), Komala, and Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)-affiliated Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK), among others, operate on the border and are known to regularly clash with Iranian forces.