In the first 70 days of 2024, Turkey bombed Duhok governorate at least 141 times, says CPTIK

In just 70 days of 2024, Turkey has bombed the Duhok governorate at least 141 times

Community Peacemaker Teams (CPT) Iraqi Kurdistan said it is "gravely concerned that if Turkey does conduct an operation on Gara mountain, 190 families will be permanently displaced from their villages.

Additionally, CPT-IK is also concerned about "the potential civilian casualties, casualties which have already occurred in the Turkish preparatory phase. CPT emphasizes and calls for a peaceful approach to solving the 40-year military conflict between the PKK and Turkey. It calls upon the Iraqi federal government, the Kurdish Regional Government, and the international community to protect the lives of civilians and safeguard the villagers near the border."

According to CPT-IK, Turkey has conducted seven aerial and land military operations from December 2017 until April 2022 with the strategic objective of 'locking down' the border region of Iraqi Kurdistan. As a result of these operations, Turkey now controls 86.2% of the Iraq-Turkish border. Additionally, Turkey has established 64 military bases within Iraqi sovereign territory, ranging from 5 to 40 kilometers inside the border.

The main focal point of the next operation, said the report, is Gara mountain. "The aim of the upcoming military operation, along with the current preparatory phase, is to completely lock down Turkey's border, seize complete control of the border region, and effectively prevent and dismantle PKK guerrilla movements. Preparatory military actions have already been taken, resulting in the deaths of four civilians and severe injury to one."

Gara mountain is of strategic significance. The mountain stands at 2251 meters above sea level and covers a span of 38.9 kilometers, serving as a center for four districts: Mergasor, Akre, Amedi, and Zakho. At the base of the mountain and on its slopes are 94 villages, 55 of which have been completely displaced since 1996 because of Turkish bombardments. Only 39 inhabited villages remain.

In preparation for its publicly announced upcoming operations, Turkey has conducted a vast number of bombardments. In just 70 days of 2024, Turkey has bombed the Duhok governorate at least 141 times, 75 of which targeted Gara mountain. The aim of the bombings is to pressure and force the villagers and civilians in Gara mountain to leave so that Turkey can establish and control a larger area to conduct their operations. This tactic has been frequently used by the Turkish military in Iraqi Kurdistan to seize control of civilian areas.

As a consequence of its bombardments in 2024 in Gara mountain, four civilians have been killed, and one has been severely injured, wrote the CPT-IK.