Turkish military ops force 47 villages in N Iraq to flee

TEHRAN, May 30 (MNA) – A total of 47 villages have been evacuated in the Iraqi Kurdistan region as a result of Turkish airstrikes in the last 37 days.

The Turkish airstrikes have focused on a strategic hill in Metina in recent days, while civilian settlements have also been targeted, Ahval news website has cited a Kurdish news media as saying.

Some 1.85 square kilometres of fruit trees have burned down in Metina, and cultivated lands areas have caught fire while herds of livestock belonging to the Iraqi Kurdish villagers have perished.

The Ahval report cited the Kurdish source that the Free Syrian Army (FSA) are accompanying the Turkish army in the operations in northern Iraq.

Citing a ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (PDK) lawmaker, the report said Village guards with the Turkish army and groups in the Free Syrian Army (FSA) have also started logging in the evacuated villages, selling the timber in Turkey via Turkish companies.

Turkey started its new military operation dubbed “Operation Claw-Lightning” against the elements of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in northern Iraq on April 23. There have been reports of casualties among Iraqi Kurdish civilians as a result of Turkish military operations. 

Turkey claims that PKK terrorists are using mountainous areas in northern Iraq as their hideouts for military operations against the Turkish army. The PKK, which has been at loggerheads with the Ankara government for the past 35 years, is considered a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union. Turkey says PKK militants are responsible for the deaths of more than 40,000 Turkish citizens, including women and children.

Most recently, the Turkish Interior Minister said that the PKK had used drones to attack Turkish army positions. 

Meanwhile, members of the Iraqi and the Kurdistan region's parliaments, the media, social media activists and political commentators have recently increased their criticism of Baghdad and Erbil's silence on the ongoing operation in northern Iraq.

KI/FNA14000309000742

News Code 174169

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