As Turkey resumes its attacks on the Iraqi Kurdish regions of Zap, Avaşîn and Metîna, the People’s Defence Forces (HPG), whom Turkish forces are fighting, shared a balance sheet listing its records of Turkish casualties in the past six months.
In the statement, HPG said Turkey had lost 10 helicopters as well as 2,346 soldiers and village guards, 17 of whom were high-ranking officers. The group added that Turkish forces had bombed the region bombed 3,491 times, including 2,476 uses of chemical and banned weapons.
The HPG’s records far exceed the casualties reported by the Turkish Ministry of National Defence, which said 63 Turkish soldiers had died during its operations in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq in the last six months.
Murat Karayılan, the head of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to which the HPG is affiliated, said in July that Kurdish militants had changed tactics to stand against Turkish operations and meet incursions with a “full-scale war”.
The resolute defence from Kurdish fighters had turned Turkey’s campaign into a battle far fiercer than what has been reported in Turkish media, Karayılan said, adding that many Turkish casualties had gone unreported.
Last week, a video of large numbers of recently dug graves in a military cemetery in Turkey’s southeastern Gaziantep province sparked furore when it was uploaded on social media.
Differing accounts of losses have also been recorded during the Turkish defence ministry’s announcements of combatants its forces have “neutralised”, a term used to denote guerrillas killed or captured by Turkish forces.
After the defence ministry tweeted that two PKK guerrillas had been killed in an operation in Duhok governorate’s Metina district on 3 October, the HPG refuted the claim by disclosing two statements with the details of six fighters who had been killed in different times and places to Turkey’s claim.
Not long before the HPG’s statement accusing Turkey of using chemical and other prohibited weapons 2,476 times, a delegation of doctors from the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) published a report summarising evidence of Turkish chemical weapon attacks.
Kurdish parties called for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague to carry out an investigation about the use of chemical weapons.