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18 Apr 2020 | 01:53 AM UTC

Iraq: Turkish forces target Kurdish militants in Qandil region April 17

Turkish forces conduct airstrikes targeting suspected Kurdish militants in the Qandil region on April 17; further strikes possible over the near term

security
IRQ

Event

Suspected Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants were targeted in Turkish airstrikes in the Qandil region on Friday, April 17. Turkey’s Defense Ministry claimed at least 18 militants were killed in the strikes following surveillance in the area. According to the ministry, “operations will continue until the last terrorist is neutralized.”

Iraq's Foreign Minister summoned the Turkish ambassador on Thursday, April 16, after a refugee camp was reportedly hit by an airstrike in Makhmour. Kurdish news sources claimed that three civilians were killed in the strike including two women. Another four PKK militants also reportedly died in an air operation in Qandil on Wednesday, April 15.

Further Turkish airstrikes are possible in the region over the near term.

Context

Turkey has faced a Kurdish insurgency since 1984, spearheaded by the PKK, which was renewed in 2015 following the dissolution of a ceasefire. The conflict has left over 40,000 people dead since 1984 and associated violence continues to pose a significant security risk in southeastern Turkey. Turkish forces have reportedly killed dozens of PKK militants in northern Iraq since the beginning of their offensive against Kurdish militants in the region in March 2018.

Advice

Individuals in northern Iraq are advised to monitor developments to the situation, remain vigilant for militant activity, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.

The security environment in Iraq remains complex. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to all travel.