Bishop of Arbil: a “cry of pain” over the Turkish attack in Kurdistan

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iraq_-_0223_-_rabban1.jpgArbil ( AsiaNews) – This “is a cry of pain addressed to the international community. Do not let Turkish airplanes continue to violate Kurdish airspace and bomb its territory: the only ones suffering are innocent civilians. More than 200 villages have been struck, people who have just returned are fleeing again, and there is violence and fear: this is the price of the aggression that we are suffering”. These words are from Rabban al Qas, bishop of Arbil, who condemns the Turkish attack on Kurdistan.

The Turkish troops crossed the border with Iraq the night of February 21, in an operation aimed at striking Kurdish separatists of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party). A ground operation followed artillery strikes and air raids targeting the presumed base camps of the PKK in the Iraqi territory. So far, at least 44 victims have been confirmed.

The bishop of Arbil, who speaks in the name of his “brother bishops, of the Muslim religious leaders, and above all of the population, the sole victim of this aggression”, says the Turkish armed vehicles and airplanes in the Iraqi territory “are destroying everything that we have so laboriously rebuilt in recent years”.

According to Bishop al Qas, the attack unleashed last night by the Turkish troops in Kurdish territory “is not aimed at striking the PKK rebels. They are not in the villages near the border, the zones struck by the bombings, but far away from the mountains. I saw with my own eyes six Turkish planes attacking a Christian village where military installations have never been seen”.

As soon as the troops penetrated the territory, “the population fled: this is even more painful if one considers how much effort the provincial government made to bring back from Syria and Jordan all those who had fled because of the war. The Turks have destroyed foot bridges, essential for moving from one village to another, and have concentrated their action on the areas mostly inhabited by Christian civilians”.

Europe and the United States, like Christians and Muslims of the entire world, “cannot remain indifferent before what is happening. We need the help and prayers of all: peace must return, or the situation will never return to normal”.