A Kurdistan Workers’ Party leader was killed and another was injured in a drone strike alleged to Turkey in the Kurdistan Region in Northern Iraq, according to a statement made on Sunday by the region’s counter-terrorism agency.
Ankara rarely remarks on these strikes, but it frequently conducts aerial and ground military operations against Turkish Kurdish separatists from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party and their bases in Northern Iraq’s Kurdistan entity, an autonomous entity, and the Sinjar region.
The statement mentioned that at 9:30 am, “a Turkish army drone targeted a vehicle carrying Kurdistan Workers’ Party fighters near the Agjilar area in Jamjamal district” in Sulaymaniyah Governorate, resulting in the death of a military official from the party and injuring another fighter.
Late in July, four Kurdistan Workers’ Party members were killed in a similar airstrike in Northern Iraq.
For decades, Northern Iraq has found itself caught in the crossfire of the conflict between Ankara and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which Turkey and its Western allies classify as a “terrorist” organization.
Ankara has maintained military bases in Northern Iraq for 25 years to counter the Kurdish rebel threat posed by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which is also present in training camps and rear bases in the region.
In late May, three Yazidi fighters from the Sinjar Protection Units, an armed group affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, were killed in Turkish shelling in Sinjar. Similar shelling incidents occurred in February and March.
Baghdad and Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, are accused of turning a blind eye to Turkish airstrikes to maintain their strategic alliance with Ankara, one of the country’s major trade partners.
However, after each deadly incident, statements condemning the violation of Iraq’s sovereignty and the impact on civilians are issued.
The office of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi announced in a statement on July 25th that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is planning a “forthcoming visit” to Iraq, with the date yet to be disclosed. The visit is expected to focus on economic issues and the water issue.
Baghdad accuses Ankara of building dams on the rivers that pass through Iraqi territory, leading to a decrease in water levels and exacerbating the country’s water shortage.