ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Turkish jets conducted airstrikes against alleged PKK targets in the Shingal and Qarachogh mountains, Turkey’s Defence Ministry announced on Thursday evening.
The ministry claimed the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and People’s Protection Units (YPG) were using the sites as bases and argued they were acting in self-defence.
The mayor of Shingal confirmed the strike, and said the extent of the damage is not immediately known.
“Turkish military jets bombarded the west side of Mount Shingal. The targets were Bara and some other areas, but the damages are unknown as of now,” Mayor Mahma Khalil told Rudaw.
He condemned the strikes on the Yezidi heartland that is struggling to recover from the genocide committed by ISIS.
“Shingal needs stability,” he said. “And the airstrikes are at a time when we are busy with our religious ceremonies.”
Yezidis are currently celebrating a festival marked by days of fasting and spending time praying and connecting with neighbours.
Media close to the PKK confirmed the strike in Makhmour. Furat News Agency said the Martyr Rustam Cudi compound was hit at around 9pm.
There is a refugee camp in Makhmour, hosting more than 12,000 Kurds who fled Turkish state persecution, mostly in the 1990s. An armed force established to protect the camp when ISIS militants attacked the area is believed to have ties to the PKK.
Makhmour mayor said they have not been able to contact the camp.
“According to the information we have received, a large sound in the camp has been heard, and we have lost contact with the camp. The Makhmour police station has tried to contact the camp, but they weren’t able to,” Mayor Rizgar Mohammed told Rudaw.
He added they do not immediately know the extent of any damage.
In June, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the refugee camp a “breeding ground” for terrorists and threatened action.
A deadly explosion in the camp a year ago killed three.
A commander of local PKK forces in the Shingal area, Zaki Shingali, was killed in a Turkish airstrike in August.
"How can Iraq be a state and have sovereignty, but not be able to protect its borders?” asked Naqib Shukr, the mayor of the Shingal district Giruzzer.
His district was not hit by the airstrikes on Thursday, but he called on Baghdad to "protect its land and borders from all international violations."
Updated at 11:12 pm