Erbil, IRAQ — The Iraqi Kurdistan Region Government has urged anti-Turkish, Kurdish fighters to avoid residential areas to spare civilians the damage from Turkish airstrikes targeting those fighters, Iraqi News reports.
ٍKRG spokesperson, Safin Dizayee, in a statement on Thursday, urged Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) fighters to “keep away from populated areas to preserve civilians’ lives”.
“In a time when Kurdistan citizens celebrate Nawroz, four have martyred due to Turkish warplanes attacks on Balkayti region (north of Erbil)”.
According to Dizayee, “the presence of PKK fighters’ locations near populated areas poses a danger to civilians’ lives, an has led to targeting them many times”.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech in Ankara on Monday his country would, at any time, launch operations in Iraq’s northern Sinjar region against PKK, a group designated by Ankara as a terrorist group for engaging in decades of armed confrontations with it. Ankara has regularly conducted airstrikes against PKK locations in northern Iraq.
Turkey has also been carrying out offensives since January against Kurdish factions in Afrin, northwest of Syria, which it believes are extension of the PKK.
While news reports recently said Iraq was giving indirect approval of Erdogan’s plans to launch offensives in the north, Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said Wednesday Iraq categorically rejects the suggestion.