Turkish Military in Iraq & Syria

An internally displaced Kurdish family in northern Iraq, 2016 (Maranie R. Staab)

Belligerent
Turkish military
Country
Iraq
start date
end date
Airwars Grading
Belligerent Assessment

Incident Code

TI002

Incident date

August 1, 2015

Location

زرجيلي, Zergele, Kurdistan, Iraq

Geolocation

36.063457, 45.332963 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Subdistrict level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Subdistrict

Airwars assessment

Multiple Turkish airstrikes reportedly killed eight or more residents and injured at least eight others – including a child – in an attack on the village of Zergele in the Kandil Mountains.

Alusmaria reported: “Turkish planes today bombed the village of Zergele north of the border, killing eight civilians, wounding ten others and destroying seven houses.”

Rudaw said ten civilians died and eleven were injured.

All Iraq News wrote that 22 houses were destroyed in the attack.

Amnesty International later concluded that none of the dead or injured were affiliated to the PKK: “Evidence gathered during a visit by Amnesty International to the village of Zergele three days after the airstrikes suggests all those killed and injured in the attack were not affiliated with the PKK. Amnesty International spoke to several eyewitnesses, including two doctors who rescued the wounded and three residents who consistently said that none of the dead or injured were PKK fighters and that there were no PKK fighters in the area. Those killed included a local mayor and two municipality workers.

All the witnesses who were present at the time of the attack or arrived there shortly afterwards said that the victims wore civilian clothes and that they saw no weapons on the scene. Amnesty International reviewed 10 photographs and one video from the scene that were consistent with these witness statements.”

The international NGO also added the following: “The apparent absence of a military target within the vicinity of the airstrikes suggests that these strikes are unlawful whether or not there is an armed conflict between the Turkish authorities and the PKK. The Turkish government has displayed a flagrant disregard for the lives of local residents and failed to take necessary precautions to minimize harm to them, or to discriminate between them and PKK fighters.”

While early reporting put the numbers of dead between six and ten, eight killed and eight injured is the figure used by Amnesty and other sources.

The Christian Peacemaker Teams in Iraqi Kurdistan (CPTIK) collected testimonies of witnesses. In a Youtube-video, Jegir, an eyewitness, says: “There were two different planes: a drone and an aeroplane. They were circling the Qandil area. 20 minutes after the first attack, when we were trying to take the dead bodies about 30 metres away, we heard the explosions from the second attack. We could not do anything, people separated and tried to hide. There were four rockets in the second attack. I ran one hundred meters in 30 seconds to get away. Then, there were four more rockets in a third attack.”

Jegir’s uncle Mohammed Amin was severely injured. In his testimony to CPTIK, Mohammed Amin tells how his mother was killed in the airstrike: “When we tried to carry our mum’s body away, the bombing started again.” Besides his mother, Amin also lost his son, two cousins and another relative.

A Peshmerga fighter who was also interviewed stated that his phone rang at exactly 3:50 AM with the news that his mother had been killed in the attack.

The incident occured between 3:00 am and 5:00 am local time.

The victims were named as:

Family members (2)

  • Mohamed Ameen Adult male Peshmerga injured
  • Sinur Adult female Sister in law of Mohamed injured

Family members (4)

  • Gerbet Ahmed Adult female injured
  • Shukariya Ahmed Adult female Sister of Gerbet injured
  • Khadija Adult female Mother of Gerbet and Shukariya injured
  • Chilan Rasheed Child female Niece of Gerbet and Shukariya injured
  • Ayesha Ahmed Mustafa Adult female killed
  • Salih Mohamed Ameen Adult male Local mayor killed
  • Heybet Mohamed Ameen Age unknown male killed
  • Najeeb Aziz Age unknown male killed
  • Sama Khabat Age unknown male Municipality worker killed
  • Endomen Sharawonch Age unknown male Municipality worker killed
  • Karoh Mohamed Ameen Adult male Identified as peshmerga by Amnesty killed
  • Abdulkader Bakr Adult male Identified as peshmerga by Amnesty killed

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    8 – 10
  • (1 child2 women5–7 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    8–11
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Unknown

Sources (7) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

  • Turkish air strikes on August 1st in Zergele kill local residents according to a video published by Amnesty
  • 'Aftermath of airstrike in the village of Zergele, in the Kandil Mountains in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq on 1 August 2015' (via Amnesty International)
  • Investigation of a reported strike location at Zergele (Image from ANF via Amnesty)

Geolocation notes

Location of Zergele (via TRT)

Unknown Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Unknown
  • Unknown position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    8 – 10
  • (1 child2 women5–7 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    8–11
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Unknown

Sources (7) [ collapse]

Incident Code

TI007

Incident date

July 29, 2017

Location

قنديل, افشين, الزاب, Zakho district, Dohuk, Iraq

Geolocation

37.146111, 42.673611 Note: The accuracy of this location is to District level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

District

Airwars assessment

Local Kurdish media said that four civilians were injured by alleged Turkish artillery shelling in Zakho at the Iraqi-Turkish border.

Asda News reported that “the shelling led to the injury of four civilians, who were taken to the hospital for treatment, noting that the health of the four injured people is stable.”

Rudaw added that “the injured have since been discharged from hospital,” Rudaw’s Yousif Musa reported.

The shelling happened at 6:00 Friday evening in the Psaxa area, Batifa sub-district.

The four young people, two of them professional players of the Zakho football club, went out on a picnic on Friday. They were in the same area where militants of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) are also present.

The incident occured at 6:00 pm local time.

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    4
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Turkish Armed Forces

Sources (2) [ collapse]

Turkish Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Turkish Armed Forces
  • Turkish Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    4
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Turkish Armed Forces

Sources (2) [ collapse]

Incident Code

TI010

Incident date

September 20, 2017

Location

دهوك, Dohuk, Kurdistan, Iraq

Geolocation

36.865292, 42.991828 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

The Kurdistan Regional Government said that seven civilians were killed by Turkish airstrikes on Dohuk village.

Skyiraq reported: “The air strikes launched by the Turkish warplanes targeted areas in the province of Dohuk and killed seven civilians.”

The government said in a statement that while the citizens were going to do their work on their farms, the warplanes bombed those areas as they were targeting PKK positions.”

Rwa.adiona published a similar story.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    7
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Turkish Armed Forces

Sources (2) [ collapse]

Turkish Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Turkish Armed Forces
  • Turkish Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    7
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Turkish Armed Forces

Sources (2) [ collapse]

Incident Code

TI009

Incident date

September 20, 2017

Location

شمال العراق, North of Iraq, Iraq

Geolocation

36.915000, 44.041944 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Province/governorate level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Province/governorate

Airwars assessment

Local media reported that the Turkish air force had bombed sites belonging to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party in north Iraq – though there was no information available on civilian harm as a result of these actions.

RT reported that “the Turkish army said on Thursday that the shelling hit targets in the mountainous regions of Zab, Afashin and Baysan in northern Iraq, close to the border with Turkey. The army gave no further details on the timing of the strike or targets, but confirmed that all the aircraft had returned safely.”

According to Alrafdain, “The Turkish Air Force announced that the Turkish planes bombed the camps of the Workers ‘Party militia. This resulted in the destruction of weapons and ammunition stores as part of the Turkish forces’ campaign in south and south-eastern Turkey and northern Iraq.”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Turkish Armed Forces

Sources (4) [ collapse]

Turkish Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Turkish Armed Forces
  • Turkish Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Turkish Armed Forces

Sources (4) [ collapse]

Incident Code

TI001

Incident date

July 25, 2015

Location

العمادية, Amadiyah, Kurdistan, Iraq

Geolocation

37.092003, 43.486966 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Town

Airwars assessment

Three civilians were reportedly injured in alleged Turkish airstrikes on Amadiyah, Iraq.

Iraqhurr reported intensive bombing on PKK positions in the area and said that it “led to the wounding of three civilians.”

Sputnik News also reported Turkish airstrikes in the area but did not mention civilian harm.

No additional details are presently known regarding this event.

The event coincided with a major Turkish ground and air operation against both ISIS and Kurdish forces in Syria, which the US-led Coalition later confirmed were unilateral actions by its erstwhile partner.

Turkey’s Prime Minister told reporters: “Bomb attacks were aimed at the known military targets, including Qandil in northern Iraq [notable as a sanctuary for the PKK], and at the most important command centers and weapon depots of ISIL in Syria. There were no civilians in these areas, none of them have died.”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    3
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    Unknown

Sources (2) [ collapse]

Unknown Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Unknown
  • Unknown position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    3
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    Unknown

Sources (2) [ collapse]