Kurdistan: Christians evacuating villages due to Turkish bombardments

Around 10 Christian villages in the northern Kurdistan Region have been evacuated due to frequent and increasing Turkish bombings targeting apparent Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) positions.

Ιn the Kani Masi District some homes are locked up and abandoned. There are 25 such villages in the district, including 10 or so evacuated ones, according to district officials. In the village of Duri 15 of the 40 homes have been evacuated.

The PKK is a Kurdish militant group that has fought the Turkish state for decades for greater autonomy for Turkey’s Kurds. Ankara considers the PKK a terrorist group and regularly strikes apparent targets of the group in the Kurdistan Region. The PKK is based in the Qandil mountains along the Turkey-Iraq border.

PKK fighters are present in the areas around the city of Amedi where Kani Masi is. The area is in the Duhok Province and close to the Turkish border. Most Christians there identify as ethnic Assyrians.

The Turkish airstrikes hit the district on a daily basis, and negatively impact the lives of civilians. Civilians are frequently caught in the crossfire between Turkey and the PKK, and people empty the villages to escape the fighting.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has repeatedly asked PKK fighters to stay away from populated areas and villages. Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani has also voiced concerns to Turkey over civilian deaths resulting from Turkey’s airstrikes.

Baghdad has likewise called on Turkey to end its attacks, while simultaneously demanding the PKK leave their territories.