09/30/2018 Iraq (International Christian Concern) – September has seen an increase of Turkish airstrikes in Iraq’s far north. Local sources estimate that 7 predominately Christian villages were targeted. Turkey attempts to justify these airstrikes by claiming that these villages support or have a PKK presence. Turkey is occupying a significant swath of land in Northern Iraq and is deepening its presence daily.
Northern Iraq is agricultural and sparsely populated. The PKK, which the US recognizes as a terrorist group, has long been active in the north. Christian villages there have traditionally faced challenges driven by the Kurdish government and PKK. Their situation has worsened as Turkey gains territorial control in Iraq’s north.
Human rights groups have repeatedly warned that Turkey is using the PKK’s general presence as an excuse to expand its territory and that by conducting airstrikes where there is no specific legitimate military target, Turkey is in violation of international law.