CPT: Artillery fire originated from a Turkish military base

According to the Community Peacemaker Teams, the attack on Zakho, which killed nine people, came from the Turkish military base of Xamtir in southern Kurdistan. The youngest victim is one-year-old Zahra.

Nine people were killed and at least 23 injured when the Turkish state bombed a picnic site in the village of Perex in the southern Kurdish district of Zakho on 20 July. The identities of the victims have since been released, including one-year-old Zahra and twelve-year-old Sara. Seven of them had come to Zakho from Baghdad for holidays, two men came from Karbala.

According to the Community Peacemaker Teams (CPT), the artillery fire came from the Turkish military base Xamtir in Xatîrê. CPT representative Kamaran Osman told the Mezopotamya Agency (MA) that the area had been shelled four times by artillery. There were 30 families living in Perex, Osman said: "In June 2020, during the Claw Eagle and Claw Tiger operations, Turkey established two military bases in Xatîrê; Xamtir and Girê Kuxe. The bombardment on Wednesday was carried out from the Xamtir military base. There were four artillery strikes. Nine Arab tourists were killed in the attack. The ages of the dead ranged from 1 to 71. 23 people were injured."

Residents urged by the Turkish military to leave the village

Osman continued: "First of all, the location of the shelling provides enough concrete evidence. But there is also a precursor to this. This is not the first time this has happened. Last month, Turkish soldiers from the same military base came to the village of Perex, went door to door and asked the residents to leave. Of the eleven villages in the area, only the residents of Perex did not leave their village. The other villages were evacuated. As I said earlier, the soldiers also came to the village in June. But the villagers of Perex resisted and refused to leave the village. They then carried out a bombardment from the same military base on 15 June. Two people were injured in this attack. One of them is named Nazir Omar and the other is Mohammad Wazir Omar. However, the villagers continued to refuse to leave the village. And, a massacre took place. We can openly call it a massacre. There are more than 30 victims of this attack."

Talking to eyewitnesses and the wounded

Osman said that they went to the village after the bombing: "We talked to witnesses and wounded people and learned from them that four shots were fired. They confirmed to us that all these four shots were fired from the Turkish military base Xamtir."

The CPT is demanding that Turkey stop the attacks and that the Iraqi central government and the Kurdish regional government effectively protect the population: "Yesterday, we as the CPT issued a written press release. We have forwarded this text to the Kurdistan Regional Government and various consulates in Europe. We will continue to do so. We want the obvious facts to be seen," said Kamaran Osman.

According to the CPT, 138 civilians have been killed by the Turkish military in Iraqi Kurdistan since August 2015.