Kurdistan Regional Government tells villagers near Turkish border to leave as Turkey-PKK conflict escalates

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is calling on locals from more than a dozen villages in the Duhok province to avoid their areas amid escalated Turkish airstrikes on alleged Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) positions in the region.

The mayor of the Derker town east of Zakho said that people in the area have been told to stay away.

“Last Wednesday, Zakho security forces informed us to warn residents from 15 villages in Derker and Batifa sub districts of visiting and commuting in their villages,” Zeravan Musa told Rudaw.

Derker and Batifa are small towns located in the Sinat-Haftanin mountainous areas near the Turkish border.

The third phase of Turkey’s Operation Claw against the PKK began on August 24 and is focusing on places where PKK fighters are apparently hiding in the Sinat-Haftanin region, according to the Turkish Defense Ministry.

The PKK fights for greater political and cultural rights for Turkey’s Kurds, and has fought the Turkish state since 1984, resulting in the deaths of over 40,000 people from both sides, including civilians. Ankara considers the PKK a terrorist organization. The PKK has long based itself in the Qandil mountains between KRG, Turkish and Iranian territory.