Residents of a Duhok village came under heavy bombardment by suspected Turkish warplanes on Sunday, resulting in material damage caused by shrapnel to several houses in the area.
Hiror village in northern Duhok frequently faces suspected Turkish bombardment, with the recent shelling on Sunday causing material damage to several houses. No casualties were reported.
A large number of Hiror’s residents have already fled during previous years due to constant fear of possible attacks.
Out of 300 houses in the village, only 20 currently remain occupied, according to a local from the area.
“The government should take steps to help secure the lives of these people,” Reving Hirore, Head of the Peshmerga Committee in the Kurdistan Region Parliament, told Rudaw’s Naif Ramadan on Sunday.
Hirore added that the committee has urged authorities “to call on Turkey through their communication channels and to put an end to the unreasonable shelling on civilian villages,” he added.
Residents of the village are terrorized by the constant attacks that target Hirore and surrounding areas. “Suddenly, we heard the sound of an explosion that shook the house. She [his wife] began to cry and shout. I told her, ‘God is one and death comes once’,” Ibrahim Hirore, a resident of the village, said.
Claiming to target bases of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Turkey has carried out frequent attacks in recent years, bombarding different areas in the Kurdistan Region.
Turkey’s actions have been met with widespread international criticism and condemnation, as they continue to establish more bases, in violation of the country’s sovereignty.
The PKK is an armed group that has struggled for increased rights for Kurds in Turkey for decades. It has bases and its headquarters in the Kurdistan Region’s mountains. Turkey considers the group a terrorist organization and frequently sends its armed forces across the border.
Turkey has justified their presence in the mountains of northern Iraq by claiming that they are there to prevent the PKK from crossing the border and disturbing Turkey’s security.
In addition to villagers in areas of Duhok fleeing the shelling, fires were sparked last year which were difficult to extinguish because of clashes.
Verifying information of casualties and material losses over decades of conflict is a challenge. A parliamentary report last year concluded that at least 504 villages have been emptied across the Kurdistan Region since 1992 and hundreds of people have been killed.
In Duhok alone, 366 villages have been abandoned since 1998, a dozen of them in the past year. Thousands of acres of land have been scorched in fires started by the conflict.