A screenshot from the video shows a fighter operating the shoulder-fired missile.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region—A video posted online appears to show a PKK guerilla bringing down a Turkish Cobra helicopter with a man-portable air defence system (MANPADS).
, titled Revolutionary Operations – Çukurca Boundary Line – 13 May 2016, was posted on Saturday by Gerilla TV, which is associated with the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK).
Around four minutes into the video, a fighter can be seen operating the shoulder-fired missile. The missile appears to hit the tail of a helicopter, throwing it into a spin before crashing behind a hill.
A voice can be heard yelling “Cobra down! Well done!”
The guided weapons, MANPADS, were designed to protect ground forces from enemy aircraft and are a threat to low-flying craft, particularly helicopters.
This is believed to be the first time the PKK have successfully used such a weapon.
“There have been rumours of them having MANPADS in their arsenal, but nothing concrete,” Kyle Glen, co-founder of Conflict News, was quoted as saying in the Washington Post. “This is the first actual video evidence of their use inside Turkey that I have seen in several years.”
Glen warned that, if the video is genuine and the PKK do have such a weapon, this may escalate the cycle of violence between the guerillas and Turkey, calling it a “bloody cycle.”
On Friday, the military wing of the PKK, the People's Defence Force (HPG), published a statement on its website claiming that it had downed a Turkish helicopter near the Iraqi border.
The Turkish army confirmed that the loss of the helicopter but said it went down due to a technical failure.
The helicopter was in the area to support Turkish soldiers who were engaged in clashes with the PKK that saw six killed. The military has also confirmed the death of the two pilots, bringing their casualties in the incident to eight.
The statement from HPG added that their forces have a couple of bodies of "dead Turkish soldiers." The video does not reveal the fate of anyone aboard the helicopter.
The Turkish military is claiming to have killed six PKK guerillas in Friday’s clashes.
A forty-year conflict between the PKK and Turkey was reignited in July last year, ending a two year truce that many had hoped would finally bring peace to the troubled region.