Three PKK fighters killed in Turkish drone strike in Iraq’s Sinjar area
Three fighters linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) were killed in a Turkish drone strike near Sinjar, northern Iraq, on Tuesday, the Counterterrorism Service of Iraqi Kurdistan said in a statement.
The strike targeted a base of the Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS), a Yazidi group allied with the PKK, in Khansour, at 12pm local time on Tuesday.
A colonel from the Iraqi security forces told The New Arab’s sister site Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that the drone hit a house which belonged to a displaced person from Khansour but had been converted into a military base.
One fighter was wounded in addition to the three killed.
Breaking News: a location of Sinjar specifically in Khansor complex, has been targeted by the Turkish air strikes . pic.twitter.com/jGzOH22OHe— Farhad Ali (@farhadbarakat) May 16, 2023
Khansour, which lies to the north of Sinjar, near the border with Syria, is approximately 115 kilometres west of Mosul.
The strike took place amid continued calls by the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq and the Iraqi central government for an end to the PKK presence in the area.
Iraqi officials say that the presence of PKK-allied fighters has stopped refugees returning to Sinjar, even though militants from the Islamic state group, who viciously persecuted local Yazidis, were expelled from the area over eight years ago.
The PKK has fought the Turkish state since 1984, seeking autonomy or independence for Turkey's Kurdish minority, and is considered a terrorist organisation by the EU and the US as well as Turkey.
Eyewitnesses said that after the Turkish strike, an ambulance arrived while fighters surrounded it. One witness told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that the area had a heavy presence of fighters and that the Iraqi army had clashed with them the previous year.
Turkish drones continued to hover over the area after the strike, he added.
Hundreds of PKK fighters continue to operate from northern Iraq. Turkey says that as long as their presence continues, it will continue to carry out strikes there.
The Iraqi government has so far been unable to implement an October 2020 agreement stipulating the departure of PKK fighters and Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation Forces) militiamen from the Sinjar area and allowing for reconstruction to take place after the 2015 expulsion of IS.