Human Rights Watch said Wednesday that four Turkish military operations against the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) in northern Iraq, dating back more than a year, should have been investigated, killing seven non-combatants At least one more was injured for possible violations of the laws of war.
In what appeared to be Turkish air and ground attacks in four operations between May 2017 and June 2018, at least six men and one woman were killed and another man was wounded, witnesses said, without apparent military targets near the attack sites.
Human Rights Watch was unable to visit the sites, but received photographs and death certificates supporting the allegations.
"As Turkey escalates operations in Iraq, all possible precautions must be taken to avoid harming civilians there." Turkey must investigate possible unlawful strikes that have killed civilians and punish those responsible for it, "said Lama Fakih, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. For abuses, and compensation for families of victims. "
"While the obligation to investigate and compensate Turkey lies, Baghdad and Erbil should take all possible steps to protect Iraqi civilians from illegal military operations."
The PKK, a banned organization in Turkey, has long held its presence in northern Iraq near the Turkish, Iranian and Syrian borders.
The Turkish forces have carried out operations against the party in Iraq for more than a decade. Since March, the forces have deepened their presence in northern Iraq by at least 15 kilometers and established several advanced positions, including in the rural areas of Dohuk and Erbil provinces under the control of the Kurdistan Regional Government.
Residents say the Turkish armed forces have banned areas around their sites from civilians, but the population relies on these low-density agricultural areas.
On May 3, 2017, Turkish troops began shelling agricultural land six kilometers south of the Turkish border, where 6 farmers were working on their land, without warning, according to a farmer who was present at the time. The second shell killed his uncle and wounded his cousin, Two civilians.
A Turkish air strike apparently hit a car outside a village in Siddakan district on November 13, killing one man inside, his wife said, indicating that the planes were flying all day long and that the area had been hit daily for several months.
A Turkish night air raid on March 22, 2018 killed four men, all cousins who were visiting their family's home in a village in the Juman area.
Apparently at about 4 pm on June 30, a Turkish civilian was killed by a 19-year-old civilian life, 7 km from the border, her father said she was with her family and a large group of villagers harvesting wild fruits and herbs. 3 kilometers from the site of the incident, and there is no PKK anywhere close to his knowledge.
The international organization stressed that Turkish attacks must target only legitimate military targets, Ankara should issue an effective warning, take all feasible precautions to protect civilians, and ensure that civilians and civilian objects are not disproportionately harmed.
Turkish military operations in Iraq have claimed civilian lives in the past, including the 2015 attack in the Kandil mountains. The media coverage of the Turkish military operations indicated 15 additional attacks between October 2015 and August 2018, which resulted in civilian casualties.
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