A Turkish airstrike hit what was alleged to be a Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) vehicle near a Duhok village on Tuesday, local eyewitness told Rudaw, causing panic among the village’s few and fear-ridden remaining residents, Rudaw reports.
Bayar Tahir, a resident of the village of Babire in Duhok’s Mangeshki sub-district, was at a village spring with other locals when they heard Turkish jets flying overhead at 10:30am.
“We were afraid [the jets would hit us] and left the spring to go back to the village,” Tahir told Rudaw.
On their return to Babire, Tahir said he saw two missiles being fired from the Turkish jet, at least one of which hit a PKK vehicle.
He also claimed to have witnessed three PKK guerillas being killed by the strike.
Orchards and groves belonging to locals were left destroyed, he added.
Mohammed Ismael, another resident of Babire, also told Rudaw that the Turkish airstrike targeted a PKK vehicle in the same location.
“This has caused much fear among the locals,” he said.
Mushtaq Ismat, director of the Mangeshk sub-district, confirmed the incident to Rudaw.
Despite there being no reported civilian casualties, the airstrike has stoked “fear in the area,” “especially among those who were close to where the missile struck,” Ismat said.
Babire has already been close to entirely evacuated by the village’s original 40-50 families in the face of increased PKK-Turkey hostility, Tahir said, while its remaining villagers – 5 families’ worth – return only in the summer months.
“Residents are tired. They want to pack up and leave the village,” he explained.
Babire is left particularly vulnerable to casualties because of its remote location. In the event of a local being injured by airstrikes, the nearest emergency hospital is an hour away, Tahir added.
The PKK and Turkey have been locked in a four decade-long, often armed conflict, resulting in the death of roughly 40,000 people, including civilians. They are headquartered in the Qandil Mountains that run on the Turkey-Iraq-Iran border.
Turkey regularly carries out airstrikes and ground operations against suspected PKK positions inside the Kurdistan Region, with civilians routinely caught in their crossfire.