Protesters in Shiladze, Duhok have stormed a Turkish base. Photo: Rudaw
SHILADZE, Kurdistan Region – A second person has died after protesters stormed a Turkish base in Shiladze, in Duhok province’s Amedi region on Saturday. They were protesting Turkish airstrikes that have killed at least six civilians this week.
The two who were killed in the protests are a 13-year-old boy and a 60-year-old man. Another 15 people have been injured.
The demonstration initially started in Shiladze where people read statements condemning the airstrikes.
"A large number of civilians fell victim to the PKK-Turkish army conflict and they were killed by bombing by the Turkish army,” a spokesperson said, reading from a statement.
"We want our people to no longer be victims on our own land," he continued. "We are a peaceful nation. We are against conflict... We are asking for a settlement to resolve the tensions."
The protesters urged the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), parliament, and political parties in the Kurdistan Region to play a role in resolving the problem.
Protesters in Shiladze carry a sign demanding Turkey and the PKK take their fight out of the Kurdistan Region. Photo: Rudaw
"We are also calling on PKK fighters to vacate our land, villages, and areas and no longer be a factor for the martyrdom of our civilians in our region,” the spokesperson stated. "We want the Turkish army and PKK fighters to respect the territorial sovereignty of the Kurdistan Region land."
A group of protesters then headed toward the Turkish base in Sirye town. They stormed the base, setting fire to watch posts along the fence. They also tried to set two tanks on fire.
Peshmerga were deployed to the scene to bring the situation under control.
The KRG issued a statement expressing “concerns and sadness for human losses and injuries in today's incidents in Shiladze.”
It accused a “trouble-making hand” of being behind the protests.
"Relevant authorities are carefully investigating it and will punish the rioters and those who were behind it,” the KRG stated.
Gorran demanded Turkey stop its military activities in the Kurdistan Region and withdraw its forces back across the border.
"Due to the bombing of Turkish warplanes in the past, tens of civilians have fallen victim,” read a statement from Gorran’s bloc in the Kurdistan Region parliament.
"It is the responsibility of Iraq to protect the borders of South Kurdistan [Region], in coordination with the Kurdistan Region,” it added.
The party called for a return to dialogue as the only way to solve the Kurdish problem in Turkey.
Turkey’s Ministry of Defence issued a statement blaming the PKK.
“An attack has occurred on one of our bases located in northern Iraq as a result of provocation by the PKK terrorist organization,” it stated.
It confirmed some material damage, including to vehicles, and said “necessary precautions are being taken,” without going into detail.
Turkish jets were flying over Shiladze.
Turkey frequently launches airstrikes against alleged PKK positions in the Kurdistan Region. They have also killed dozens of civilians in their bombings. Six civilians were killed
in the past week. Four were killed on Wednesday and another two were killed on Friday when they were trying to retrieve the bodies of two of the young men who had died in the earlier strikes.
Local officials have called on the Kurdistan Region and Iraqi governments to take a stance in order to protect the lives of the civilians.
The largest party in the Kurdistan Region, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) issued a short statement, asking for civilians not to be targeted due to fighting between Turkey and the PKK.
The KRG has urged Baghdad to play a larger role in maintaining the territorial sovereignty of the country and the protection of its airspace.
Baghdad has in the past demanded Turkey respect its borders, but has been unable to prevent Turkey’s airstrikes.
The PKK has its headquarters in the Kurdistan Region’s Qandil Mountains.
Reporting from Nasir Ali
Updated at 11:26 pm