SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Dozens of villages have been evacuated in the Kurdistan Region’s sub-district of Kani Mase due to Turkish operation on the border areas, according to the Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT).
The CPT-Iraqi Kurdistan has recorded and documented impacts of the Turkish operation against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) on civilians living on border areas in the Kurdistan Region, its director Lukasz Firla said in a press conference on Thursday.
CPT is an international violence-reduction and human rights organization, registered in the USA as a faith-based non-profit and in the Kurdistan Region as an international non-governmental organization.
Firla said there were about 16 villages that have been evacuated in Avashin region, where fighting is still ongoing between Turkish forces and the PKK fighters.
“Only in Kani Mase, there are around 150 families that had to leave,” Firla told reporters, while his translator said 75 villages had been evacuated in Kani Mase.
Turkey launched a new ground and air defensive against the PKK in Duhok province on April 23.
“The Turkish forces came with helicopters and they came down from helicopters, and started to build bases on the Zinary Kesta mountain,” Firla said.
He further said the Turkish military continued to bomb villages and fields as fighting was ongoing between Turkey’s troops and the PKK in the area.
“The Turkish military built four bases in the Zinary Kesta [mountain]. They began to expand to the east along the border in Kani Mase,” he added.
In Miske area, Turkey damaged a church and several houses of civilians, Firla noted, and damaged a water project for nine villages in Adine.
“We are very worried and what is happening now is not just an operation that will finish very soon. We are very worried and afraid that this is an attempt to occupy the border of Kurdistan,” he said.
“The military bases are already connected by roads to Turkey. We are very worried that the farmers and families that were displaced from villages will never be able to come back. Not only because of the bombing, but also the lands taken, they don’t have any more land. Many of the lands burned and many of the animals are gone now that they had,” he continued.
“It is an attempt to connect all those areas now and to create a zone which Turkey is calling a security zone. We are afraid and worried that Turkey will never leave from this area.”
The Turkish military has established a dozen military bases in the Kurdistan Region’s border areas with Turkey as part of its military campaign against the PKK.
The Turkish military has entered nearly 10 kilometers deep into the Kurdistan Region, according to Kurdish officials.