The Kurdistan Regional Government ‘s (KRG’s) coordinator for international advocacy has stated that ‘incursions’ during the first eight months of this year by forces from neighbouring countries into Iraqi Kurdistan have led to the displacement of thousands of villagers, the deaths of several civilians and the destruction of properties and agrarian lands.
While Dindar Zebari did not name any nation state in his statements, the ‘incursions’ are led by Turkey, which launched its latest military land ‘operations’ in Iraqi Kurdistan’s Metina and Avasin regions in April this year.
As Turkey’s military operation has turned into something that several political commentators have described as ‘a permanent occupation’ of parts of the country, Turkey has even been conducting airstrikes in areas hundreds of kilometres away from its borders.
”There have been more than 400 assaults just during this year alone in the border areas,” said Zebari.
”Between January and August 2021, there were 165 airstrikes, 274 artillery shells fired at targets and six land operations launched” in Duhok, Erbil (Hewler) and Sulaimani (Silemani) provinces, he added.
Apart from Turkey’s incursions, Iran started launching attacks in early September in areas near Erbil and Sulaimani where Kurdish fighters are suspected to be present.
Presenting a parliamentary report on the consequences of the attacks by Turkey and Iran, Zebari indicated that 800 villages remain unoccupied after having been evacuated due to the attacks.
“These attacks endanger the lives of Kurdistan citizens, destroy their properties, annihilate the villagers’ agrarian lands, impair civilian infrastructure and damage the forests,” said Zebari, who noted that there has been no effort to compensate the people living on the frontlines of these offensives.
“Neither national nor international counterparts made an initiative to produce an equitable outcome to compensate civilians who have had their houses demolished, their farming lands destroyed and their lives endangered,” he said.
Zebari also appealed to neighbouring countries to “consider that civilians inhabit the border areas, which are currently exposed to bombardments.”