Turkish airstrike kills at least three in refugee camp in Iraq
A Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party official said that a Turkish airstrike killed at least three people at a camp for displaced people in northern Iraq on June 5. An Iraqi security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed an airstrike had killed and injured people in the camp but did not give any details.
A Turkish airstrike killed at least three people on June 5 at a camp for displaced people in northern Iraq, said Rashad Kelali, a Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party official.
The strike on the camp housing thousands of Kurdish refugees from Turkey took place three days after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan warned Iraq that Turkey would "clean up" a refugee camp which it says provides a haven for Kurdish militants.
An Iraqi security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed an airstrike had killed and injured people in the camp but did not give any details.
Turkish forces have stepped up attacks on bases of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) inside northern Iraq over the last year, focusing their firepower and incursions mainly on a strip of territory up to 30 km (19 miles) inside Iraq.
Erdoğan said on June 3 that Makhmour, a camp 180 km south of the Turkish border that has hosted thousands of Turkish refugees for more than two decades, was an "incubator" for militants and must be tackled.
The camp was established in the 1990s when thousands of Kurds from Turkey crossed the border in a movement Ankara says was deliberately provoked by the PKK.
The PKK, designated a terrorist organization by the United States and European Union, has fought an insurgency against the state in mainly Kurdish southeast Turkey since 1984. More than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict.
Makhmour was targeted by Turkish airstrikes a year ago, although there were no reports of casualties at the time, but a senior Turkish official said it was now a priority for Ankara.
Waving the Kurdish flag and chanting "our voices are voices of freedom against occupation," dozens marched in Iraq's Kurdish province of Sulaimaniya later on June 5 to denounce the Turkish incursion.
"They are killing innocent women and children ... Turkey wants to occupy Kurdistan, but we, the Kurds here along with the PKK, will fight until the last moment of our lives," said protester Omid Saleh.
Turkey has taken its decades-old conflict with Kurdish militants deep into northern Iraq, establishing military bases and deploying armed military drones against the fighters in their mountain strongholds.