6 Iraqi Peshmerga forces killed as Turkey resumes anti-PKK bombing campaign
Iran Press TV
Tue Apr 25, 2017 8:37AM
At least six Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces have reportedly been killed as Turkey resumes air raids on Kurdish positions in northern Iraq and in northeastern Syria.
Kurdish sources said they were killed "by mistake" in a Turkish strike on a position held by the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) militants on the Sinjar Mountain in northern Iraq.
"Six people were martyred, five from the Peshmerga and the sixth from Asayish," the Kurdish security organization, said Lieutenant General Jabbar Yawar, secretary general of the Peshmerga ministry in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish government.
"Nine others were also wounded by the air strike on the Sinjar mountain," he added.
The deaths came hours after the Turkish army said in a statement that it had conducted airstrikes against PKK militants in an alleged bid to prevent the Kurdish forces from sending weapons to Turkey.
The statement said the raids were meant to "destroy these terror hubs which threaten the security, unity and integrity of our country and our nation."
Turkey has declared the PKK a terrorist organization. The banned militant group has been fighting for an autonomous Kurdish region in the country since 1984.
Since July 2015, Turkish air force has been carrying out operations against the PKK positions in the country's troubled southeastern border region as well as in northern Iraq and neighboring Syria.
A shaky ceasefire between Ankara and the PKK that had stood since 2013 was declared null and void by the militants following Turkish strikes against the group.
Meanwhile, the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) confirmed Turkey's aerial assaults on their positions near the Syrian border town of al-Malikiyah in Hasakah province.
"Turkish planes carried out a broad offensive on a YPG base that houses media and communication centers and some military installations," the YPG said in a statement. "The treacherous attack killed and wounded fighters."
The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) also verified the Hasakah attack, saying 18 people have been killed in the Turkish raid.
SOHR head Rami Abdel Rahman said, "The dead are fighters and media officials from the People's Protection Units," adding that the strikes were the first since Turkey ended its Operation Euphrates Shield in Syria in March.
Ankara considers the Kurdish forces as an extension of the outlawed PKK. The YPG makes up the bulk of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a US-backed coalition of fighters who have seized swathes of territory from Daesh terrorists in northern Syria.
Nearly two-thirds of the 30,000 SDF militants belong to the YPG. The US support for the SDF has enraged Turkey.
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