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Turkish jets bomb N. Iraq village, force locals to flee, in fight against PKK

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In its fight against a Kurdish terrorist group in northern Iraq, Turkish warplanes bombed a village north of Sulaimani on Tuesday evening, forcing locals to flee their homes, the Rudaw news website reported.

“The Turkish warplanes bombed Sarginel village six times,” Nahro Abdulla, mayor of Sangasar, close to Sarginel, confirmed to Rudaw.

“The bombing started at 4 p.m. and lasted two hours,” he added.

The village in Raniya is home to around 50 families.

No one was killed or injured.

Abdulla said the airstrikes sparked fear among the locals, forcing them to flee to nearby villages including Sinamoka. Some have now returned home.

“The bombings caused material damage to houses, groves and orchards,” he said.

Shaho Qandili, a villager from Sarginel, described the series of airstrikes as “huge.”

“The noise of the warplanes was massive, which made everyone from the village rush and flee,” Qandili said. “Some of them fled to the mountains and other to neighboring Sinamoka.”

The mayor added it is not the first time the region has come under Turkish bombardment.

Turkey regularly carries out airstrikes and ground operations against suspected Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) positions inside the Kurdistan Region.

There are no PKK bases in the area, multiple Sarginel locals told Rudaw.

The PKK is an armed group that fights for greater political rights for Kurds in Turkey. The PKK and Turkey have fought for decades, leading to thousands of deaths, including civilians. The group is based in the Qandil Mountains along the Turkey-Iraq border.

Turkey launched Operation Claw in late May with the goal of removing the PKK from border areas in the Kurdistan Region.

Civilians are routinely caught in the crossfire of the Turkey-PKK conflict.

Locals stormed a Turkish military base in the Duhok province in January after airstrikes killed six civilians.

Both Erbil and Baghdad have called on Ankara to halt its attacks and have demanded the PKK withdraw from their territory. 

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