UNAMI condemns loss of life in Nineveh following Turkish strikes on Sinjar

A combined picture of aftermath of Turkish strikes on a clinic in Sinjar, August 17, 2021.

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — The U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) condemned the loss of life in Nineveh province, following Turkish strikes on Sinjar this week.

A Turkish drone targeted a clinic in the village of Sekaina in Sinjar district on Tuesday, killing eight people and wounding four others.

“UNAMI is following with grave concern the serious security developments in the north of Iraq, which, regrettably, have led to loss of life and many injuries in Sinjar town and Sheniya village,” it said in a statement late on Thursday.

“Necessary precautions must be taken during military operations, including airstrikes, to protect and minimize harm to civilians who often suffer the consequences of such attacks,” it added.

UNAMI called for investigations into the attacks and establishing accountability for civilian deaths and injuries.

It also called on all parties to “put the interests of citizens first, exercising restraint to avoid a dangerous escalation,” the statement read.

“Peace and stability are essential precondition for reconstruction and the return of internally displaced people,” it said.

UNAMI also urged all parties to respect the principles of state sovereignty and territorial integrity, according to the statement.

Sinjar’s deputy mayor Jalal Khalef told AFP that the air raid “totally destroyed” the clinic in Sinjar, a region Ankara regularly targets in operations against the Kurdish fighters affiliated to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The raid consisted of three drone strikes, a local official told AFP on Tuesday.

The strikes came one day after a Turkish drone bombed a vehicle in Sinjar, killing three Yazidi fighters including a local chief of the Popular Mobilization forces.

On Wednesday, Iraq’s National Security Council condemned “unilateral military actions” in Sinjar district.

The security council, however, did not make any specific mention of Turkey, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) or any attacks on the country.

But it rejected “the use of Iraqi land for settling scores”, according to the statement.

Turkish forces routinely conduct operations against PKK bases in rugged mountains in the Kurdistan Region.

On Friday, a Turkish airstrike killed a 50-year-old man in Disheshe village in Kani Mase sub-district, northeast of Duhok.

Turkish troops have maintained a network of bases in Iraq since the mid-1990s under security agreements struck with Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Iraq regularly decries violations of its sovereignty, and has repeatedly summoned the Turkish ambassador over Ankara’s cross-border military campaign.

But Iraq, which counts on Turkey as an important commercial partner, has refrained from taking punitive measures.

The Turkish offensive in the Kurdistan Region – particularly aerial bombing – has prompted hundreds of villagers to flee their homes.

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