Many unanswered questions after the deadly attack in Mardin

The horror after Wednesday night's attack is great. Five members of two closely related families from northern Iraq were in a vehicle that was ambushed in Mardin. All the occupants were murdered with shots to the head.

There is great horror after Wednesday night's deadly attack in the northern Kurdish province of Mardin. Members of two closely related families were in a vehicle with Iraqi licence plates that was ambushed shortly after midnight on Thursday on the road connecting Nusaybin and Kızıltepe. Three of the occupants - the couple, Abdullah Salih Mustafa (69) and Çimen Şahin Halid (75) and their daughter Hindirin Abdullah Salih (39) - were killed instantly. Wahida Haydar Casim (63) and her son Ahmed Celaleddin Ibrahim (45) succumbed to their severe gunshot wounds in two different hospitals.

All the victims were from the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) and had made their way to Turkey together. A second daughter of Abdullah Salih Mustafa, who lives in Samsun on the Black Sea coast, was supposed to be visited. According to relatives, the couple spent several weeks in the region every year to spend time with their daughter who lives far away. Wahida Haydar Casim suffered from an eye disease and had an appointment for surgery at a clinic in Amed (Diyarbakır). Both murdered men were also respected imams in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI).

As footage from state and private surveillance cameras shows, the group's vehicle was pursued early on in Turkish territory. At least four men are said to have been directly involved in the crime, two of whom took up the pursuit at a rest stop where the victims had previously eaten dinner in a restaurant. The car was then stopped in an ambush by the other two attackers at the Durakbaşı height. The scenes show men armed with long guns ripping open the doors of the vehicle and literally executing the occupants with shots to the head. They then flee in their car.

Although the Turkish gendarmerie (military police) arrested six suspects on Thursday, four of them are still in custody. The accusation is that they killed the five victims in order to rob them. However, not only the fact that the perpetrators allegedly used rented cars, but also the fact that the alleged robbery took place 300 metres away from the Yeniköy gendarmerie station, may speak against the theory of a robbery-murder. But no sounds of gunshots were heard there. The police apparently only arrived after they had been informed by the emergency services. The emergency call to 112 was reportedly made by a car driver.

According to the local prosecutor, all suspects are from the Nusaybin area. One of them is said to have worked for one of the victims' families in the past and only recently returned from the KRI. During interrogation, one of the men reportedly stated that he had committed the murder in order to obtain the assets of the victims and to pay his debts.