Since the beginning of 2020, at least 25 villages in northern Iraq have emptied. The bombings, followed by heavy fires, destroyed plants, houses and cemeteries. A scenario similar to those of the 1980s. Fr. Samir: Many people killed, just because they were near areas controlled by the PKK. A car carrying aid was hit.
Erbil (AsiaNews) – Fear is growing among the inhabitants, including Christians, of Iraqi Kurdistan along the border with Turkey, the scene of heavy attacks by Ankara’s air force against targets of the PKK (the Kurdish Workers’ Party) refugees in the villages of the province north of Duhok. Fr. Samir Youssef, pastor of the diocese of Amadiya says “for months they have bombed our mountains to kill PKK members or attack the Kurds, regardless of whether they carry weapons, food or anything else ”.
The parish priest of Enishke sys the violence has intensified in the last period, as evidenced by the video and the photos published: “In the last month – he explains – they have killed a lot of people, just because they were close to areas controlled by the PKK . In some cases, the bombings also hit the homes of the civilian population ”. Last week, the priest stresses, “they hit a car carrying aid near the Christian village of Araden”.
It should be noted that hundreds of Christians from Mosul and the Nineveh plain, who fled in 2014 following the rise of the Islamic State (IS, formerly Isis) still live in the area today. Jihadists who, according to the accusations, often moved undisturbed and were helped by neighboring Turkey.
“They attacked several cars – continues Fr. Samir – also in the street near Amadya. In the area there is an area, behind the mountains, where there are some Christian villages that the Turks have bombed with greater intensity. Same for other villages in Zakho. I have news of families who have fled their homes to escape these attacks ”. The hope, he adds, is a strong reaction from the Baghdad government against Turkey to put an end to military operations.
The Ankara air raids against PKK bases in Iraq are nothing new and similar episodes were also recorded in 2007 and 2018. However, the operation launched in recent weeks appears to be of a greater scale than the previous ones and is part of a policy of “Nationalism and Islam” impressed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at home and abroad. The official Turkish news agency Anadolu celebrated the military operations, which made it possible to “neutralize terrorists” and which “will continue with determination” as an official note states.
According to some local experts, relaunched by Christian organizations online and on social networks, among the most affected areas are the Christian villages of Chalik, Bersiveh and Sharanish. The objective of these military operations is to make the inhabitants flee from these areas, now almost deserted, in order to create Turkish bases from which to launch targeted ground operations against elements of the PKK. The bombings, a source concludes, are always followed by heavy fires that end up destroying all crops, homes and even cemeteries. Since the beginning of 2020, at least 25 Christian villages in northern Iraq have been emptied of their original population, with a scenario that recalls the years of tension and conflict between 1980 and 1990.