Continued Turkish Air Strikes in Shengal

Turkish air strikes continued across Southern Kurdistan (Northern Iraq), with some of the heaviest bombardment in the Shengal region. Despite the Turkish state’s claims to target PKK fighters, shocking footage has shown repeated strikes against civilian targets.

The Turkish state’s claims have little to no basis in international law and ignore the prominent role the PKK in Iraq played in defending Yazidi communities against genocidal ISIS attacks. It is these very same communities who have found themselves targeted by Turkish air strikes. The use of ‘terrorism’ to justify brutal state violence is reminiscent of the South African apartheid regime’s practice of labeling opponents as ‘terrorists’.

Authorities in the region have confirmed the deaths of several civillians in areas targeted by the air strikes. Some of the most shocking footage of the attacks shows a family relaxing by a river, in the village of Kuna Masi, moments before a bomb lands next to them.

The continued brutality of these attacks has drawn global condemnation. Protests and statements of condemnation have come from a wide variety of sources. Including; protests in Helsinki, condemnation by the Patriarch of Sako, and condemnation by the International Council of Eelam Tamils.

Further protests also took place across the world. Activists in Sydney gathered to condemn the air strikes, and the continued invasion of Southern Kurdistan. Activists also highlighted the complicity of many states who have remained silent about these Turkish atrocities.

This sentiment was echoed by the HDP (an opposition party in Turkey) who released a statement condemning the state’s cross-border attacks and the silence of the international community. The statement noted how; “NATO, the UN and the CoE are watching one of their member countries violating international law and killing innocent civilian Kurds with impunity”.

Protests also took place in several European cities. In Switzerland, protesters took to the streets of Zurich to condemn the attacks. Kurdish activists in Moscow gathered to condemn the continued violence, which has also targeted refugee camps in the area. In Dresden, activists handed out leaflets to raise awareness of Turkish war crimes.

Activists also held protests across the UK. Groups gathered in Leeds, Sheffield and London to protest the recent air strikes and the drone strike against a Kurdish Women’s Group in Kobane.

A joint campaign highlighting the war crimes and occupation policies of Israel and Turkey took place across Italy. Protests occurred in several Italian cities such as: Alessandria, Bologna, Bolzano, Campobasso, Florence, Ivrea, Livorno, Milan, Nuaro, Palermo, Parma, Ragusa, Rome, Catania, Riace, Naples, Bari and Volantino.

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