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
Civilian Harm Status
Belligerent Assessment
Declassified Documents
Infrastructure

Incident Code

TI101

Incident date

December 28, 2024

Location

قرية كاركي, Karki, Sinjar District, Mosul Province, Iraq

Airwars assessment

Between 6 and 8 PM on Thursday, December 28th, 2023, at least five people were killed and two others injured after an alleged Turkish drone strike on the village of Karki in the Sinjar district of Mosul province. The civilian status of five of the men killed is contested within the sources.

Those killed were young men, originally from northern and eastern Syria; information on the wounded was not made available. Roj News, in conjunction with the Democratic Autonomous Administration of Shingal District identified the deceased as follows: 21-year-old Ramadan al-Hammadi, originally from Raqqa; 24-year-old Shaheen Ali, from Kobani; 20-year-old Hussein al-Hussein, also from Raqqa; 23-year-old Ahmed al-Mohammed al-Ali, from Raqqa; and Raqqa-born Munir al-Bakour. al-Bakour’s age was not publicly declared.

There remains dispute regarding the circumstances of the strike. While the local administration in Sinjar reported those killed were working digging wells to provide water for the villages of Kora Samukiya, Al-Arbay News stated that the bombing was a deliberate strike targeting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party. Al-Araby claimed their source, members of Nineveh security, as saying the strike targeted “a group of Labor Party activists.” Al-Arbay also specified that the local Sinjar administration is “known for its association” with the PKK.

Haider Sheshu, a commander of local militia Ezidkhan Protection Units, stated that he was unsure “whether the dead were fighters or civilians.”

Roj News reported the belligerent bombed the area three consecutive times. All of the sources attributed the drone strikes to Turkish forces.

The incident occured between 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm local time.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian infrastructure
    Water station
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3 – 8
  • (0–5 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Impact
    Food
    Impact on services or infrastructure relating to education, health or food supply. See methodology note for details.
  • Suspected attacker
    Turkish Military
  • Suspected target
    YPG/SDF
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–5

Sources (11) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (8) [ collapse]

  • Source: Roj News
  • Source: Roj News
  • Source: Roj News
  • Source: Roj News
  • Source: Hawar News
  • Source: Hawar News
  • Source: Hawar News

Turkish Military Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Turkish Military
  • Turkish Military position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian infrastructure
    Water station
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3 – 8
  • (0–5 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Impact
    Food
    Impact on services or infrastructure relating to education, health or food supply. See methodology note for details.
  • Suspected attacker
    Turkish Military
  • Suspected target
    YPG/SDF
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–5

Sources (11) [ collapse]

Incident Code

TI099

Incident date

October 17, 2023

Location

قرية كاني كندي , Kani Kindi village, Koya District, Kurdistan, Iraq

Airwars assessment

On Tuesday, October 17th, 2023, one man was killed and up to three other civilians, women, were injured after an alleged Turkish drone strike on a car in the Kani Kindi village in the Koya district of Kurdistan, Iraq.

The car was reported to have belonged to citizens of the Makhmour refugee camp; the driver was killed immediately and three others belonging to one family were injured. 27-year-old Dolovan Işlik was driving, and appeared to have been traveling to visit a relative in the town of Rania. It is unclear whether the relative was his sister or sister-in-law; they were apparently visiting to help the relative with their work in fishing or livestock. It should be noted that while most sources referred to the deceased as Dolovan Işlik, Al Araby News, quoting the police director of the town of Koysanjak, referred to him as Delovan Salam Suleiman.

ANF reported that the injured were three women, which Roj News echoed. While Al Araby reported that only one person was injured, all other sources mentioned three wounded.

All of the sources that reported on the incident attributed the strikes to Turkish drones.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

The victims were named as:

Dolovan Işlik دلوفان إشليك
27 years old male killed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    1–3
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Turkish Military

Sources (5) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

  • Dolovan Işlik, killed by alleged Turkish drone strikes in the village of Kani Kindi on October 17, 2023. (Image posted by Roj News)
    Source: Ronahi.tv
  • Source: Hawar News

Turkish Military Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Turkish Military
  • Turkish Military position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    1–3
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Turkish Military

Sources (5) [ collapse]

Incident Code

TI095

Incident date

August 24, 2023

Location

قرية ميرغمير, village of Mergmir, Erbil, Iraq

Airwars assessment

On the 24th of August 2023, a drone strike is believed to have killed either four civilians or four PKK fighters, two of them in medical roles, in the village of Merg Mir in the Bradost region in Erbil Governorate. According to several news sources, including Roj News, Hawar News Agency and Kurdistan 24, the drone strike was conducted by Turkey. However, the Turkish government has not taken responsibility for the drone strike.

The identity of the victims is uncertain. Several news sources, including Firat News Agency (which is by some considered to be affiliated to the Kurdistan Worker’s Party) and Roj News, have stated that the four victims were all civilians. Other news sources, such as Hawar News, classified the victims as “citizens” without specifying what that implied.

However, other news sources, such as Rudaw and Kurdistan 24, stated instead that they were militants associated with the Kurdistan Worker’s Party. According to Kurdistan 24, a statement from the Anti-Terrorism Directorate in the Kurdistan region asserted that two of the individuals were leaders in the Party and the two others “were from the party’s medical teams”. Middle East Online, also referencing the Anti-Terrorism Directorate, gives a similar account of the drone strike stating that two were leaders of the PKK and the two others were “from the party’s rescue team.” Rudaw News specified that four members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), two men and two women, were killed.

In terms of the timing of the drone strike, several news sources (Kurdistan 24 and Rudaw) believe it took place at 16:45. However, according to Kurdistan TV, the drone strike is believed to have happened at 16:00. Other news sources do not seem to have commented on the timing.

Finally, in terms of the site of the drone strike, several news sources (Roj News and Hawar News) report that it struck a house in a residential area. Rudaw also stated that the drone strike hit a house without commenting on whether it was a residential area. Furthermore, Rudaw commented that the house partially burned down and that it belonged to Mukhlis Rashid, a farmer, who they stated was not injured in the drone strike. According to the District Commissioner of Sedkan this was because he was busy “irrigating his land when the bombing occurred”. However, to add further confusion, Kurdistan 24 reports that it did not hit a house but instead a tent which the militants were occupying. It is therefore unclear exactly what was hit.

The incident occured between 4:00 pm and 4:45 pm local time.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian infrastructure
    Agriculture
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 4
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Turkish Military
  • Suspected target
    YPG/SDF
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–4

Sources (7) [ collapse]

Turkish Military Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Turkish Military
  • Turkish Military position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian infrastructure
    Agriculture
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 4
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Turkish Military
  • Suspected target
    YPG/SDF
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–4

Sources (7) [ collapse]

Incident Code

TI094

Incident date

August 11, 2023

Location

بنجوين, Penjwin district, Sulaymaniyah, Iraq

Airwars assessment

On August 11, 2023, three civilians, including at least one woman (who may have been under 18), were reportedly killed after being struck by a Turkish drone in the Penjwin district of Sulaymaniyah governorate. According to media coverage of this event, the victims were killed while driving towards the Iranian border.

In its coverage of this event, Roj News identified the victims, stating, “The sources stated that the names of the three citizens who lost their lives are Hassan Ahmed, his wife and daughter.” as well as identifying the victims as being from Mosul in Dohuk Governorate, including one of the victims who was an employee of Assil Company. Other local sources refer to the company as being called Asiacell and quoted the director of the Asiacell office in Dohuk, Bassam Sayed, who said that Hassan Ahmed has worked as an engineer for them since 2021.

Asiacell released a statement to Shafaq News that: “The victim’s name is (Hassan Ahmed Kashmoula), of Arab nationalism, and he is from Mosul. He came to visit his daughter at the Bashmakh border crossing, where she was a student at the Faculty of Medicine at Sanandaj University in Iran, and he intended to return her to Mosul and the other two who were inside the car.” They (his son and daughter) are called (Ziyad Mustafa Khader), and they are from the Rashidiya neighborhood in Mosul, and the girl was born in 2006, and they came for the same purpose.”

While Rudaw’s account differed in that it states Ahmed’s friend was killed, rather than wife, it provided more context, reportedly quoting Nizar Ahmed Kashmoula, the brother of one of the victims, who “indicated that they were heading to the Iranian border to receive their cousin and the son of his brother’s friend, who are studying together at the Faculty of Engineering.” Rudaw identified the victims as Hassan Ahmed, “Ziyad Mustafa, a friend of Hassan Ahmed,” and Rayan Ziyad Mustafa, a student at the Faculty of Medicine.”

Following this incident, outlets including ANF Arabic and Rudaw published images that purportedly show the damage to the car occupied by the affected civilians. In these images, the vehicle is heavily damaged and on fire, positioned on the side of a road.  Rudaw also identified the vehicle as being a white Toyota Corolla.

Rudaw noted that the Turkish Anti-Terrorism Service claimed to have targeted two vehicles operated by militants affiliated with the PKK on the same day. While neither statement can be matched with certainty to this specific incident, Rudaw reports that the organization reported the day’s events in the following terms: “The Anti-Terrorism Service said: “A Turkish drone targeted a car belonging to the PKK, near the village of Kalala” in Sulaymaniyah Governorate, which resulted in “the death of a PKK intelligence official and the wounding of two others.” He added that another attack by a Turkish drone targeted “a car of PKK members near the village of Qala in the Khalkan region,” also in Sulaymaniyah, which led to the death of “a PKK member and the injury of two others.” The director of Nalbariz district in Penjween district in Sulaymaniyah governorate, Hemin Ibrahim, told Rudaw that he was confident that the bombing was carried out by a drone because of the holes left on the street.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

The victims were named as:

Family members (3)

Hassan Ahmed
Adult male killed
Ziyad Mustafa Khader
17 years old female killed
Rayan Ziyad Mustafa
killed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • (1 child1 woman1 man)
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Turkish Military

Sources (7) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (4) [ collapse]

  • Vehicle struck by alleged Turkish drone strikes in Sulaymaniyah on August 11, 2023. (Image posted by Roj News)
  • Vehicle struck by alleged Turkish drone strikes in Sulaymaniyah on August 11, 2023. (Image posted by Rudaw News)

Turkish Military Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Turkish Military
  • Turkish Military position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • (1 child1 woman1 man)
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Turkish Military

Sources (7) [ collapse]

Incident Code

TI093

Incident date

August 6, 2023

Location

جمانكي, Jamanki area, Dohuk, Iraq

Airwars assessment

On August 6th, 2023, an alleged Turkish airstrike or drone strike in Jamanki, Dohuk governorate struck a car and killed a civilian named Alain Ismail and seriously injured a civilian named Hashem Shaker.

According to Altaakhi and Kurdistan 24 reports, Alain Ismail had been married five months before he tragically passed away. Further information about Alain Ismail and Hashem Shaker cannot be found within the sources. The Jamanki area where the strike took place is a well known summer resort area, and on a major road connecting districts within the governorate. Roj News, Attakhi, Kurdistan 24, and the Baghdad Times all allege that a Turkish aircraft was responsible, although Ankara has not taken responsibility for the strike or the civilian casualties.

The incident occured in the evening.

The victims were named as:

Alain Ismail آلان إسماعيل
Age unknown killed
Hashem Shaker هاشم شاكر
Age unknown injured

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Turkish Military

Sources (4) [ collapse]

Turkish Military Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Turkish Military
  • Turkish Military position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Turkish Military

Sources (4) [ collapse]

Incident Code

TI092

Incident date

August 6, 2023

Location

قرية جنارتوي, Gnartuy Village, Sulaymaniyah, Iraq

Airwars assessment

On August 6th, 2023, an alleged Turkish drone strike hit Gnartuy village in Suliemaniah province, Iraq; according to Shafaq News, the strike killed one civilian and injured another, while Alaraby and Roj News reported that the strike injured two civilians.

Alaraby reported that one civilian was from Halabja and that another held Syrian Kurdish nationality, although information on the names or other information about those alleged wounded or killed cannot be found within the sources. The drone strike hit a civilian vehicle (a jeep) travelling between the Dukan and Khalkan district, and caused a fire to break out at the scene in addition to harming people.

Alaraby, speaking to security forces, reported that the drone’s provenance is unknown although a Kurdish security officer stated an investigation is underway, while both Shafaq News and Roj News alleged that the strike was Turkish. The Kurdish security officer stressed the strike “was not random, but targeted the vehicle specifically and not others” when speaking to Alaraby.

The incident occured in the morning.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • Civilians reported injured
    1–2
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Turkish Military

Sources (3) [ collapse]

Turkish Military Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Turkish Military
  • Turkish Military position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • Civilians reported injured
    1–2
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Turkish Military

Sources (3) [ collapse]

Incident Code

TI091

Incident date

April 15, 2023

Location

بنجوين, Kani Miran, Saliawah and Waryawh, Sulaymaniyah, Iraq

Airwars assessment

Two civilians were killed and two others were injured by alleged Turkish drone strikes on the villages of Kani Miran, Saliawah and Waryawh in Sulaymaniyah on April 15, 2023.

The head of the local government in the province of Sulaymaniyah, Haval Abu Bakr, was quoted by a Facebook post from Adil Hamood as announcing that two people were killed and two others were wounded when a drone bombed villages in Penjwin district in the evening.

Hawar News quoted a source from Roj News Agency who attributed the drone strikes to Turkish forces and identified strikes on the villages of “Kani Miran, Saliawah and Waryawh,” specifically striking a car, and resulting in injuries and casualties.

An anonymous source told Rudaw News that the strikes were carried out by Turkey and they targeted fighters of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). However, the source did not mention if those killed and injured were members of the PKK. Other local sources refer to those killed and injured as “people” and “citizens.”

Sputnik Today, a Russian state-run news source, reported that according to Turkish newspaper “Hurriyet,” the Turkish government had placed the city of Sulaymaniyah among the list of Turkish military targets.

The incident occured in the evening.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Turkish Military

Sources (6) [ collapse]

Turkish Military Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Turkish Military
  • Turkish Military position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Turkish Military

Sources (6) [ collapse]

Incident Code

TI090

Incident date

January 13, 2023

Location

قرية خليفان, Khalifan village, Erbil, Iraq

Airwars assessment

Two children were injured when Turkish forces allegedly shot them in the village of Khalifan on January 13, 2022.

Alyaum TV reported that two children were injured while grazing cattle in the “Khalifan” area of the “Sidkan” district when Turkish forces shot them. Hawar News (quoting Roj News Agency) added that the children were shot with live bullets and Ronahi TV added that the children were taken to the hospital.

Kurdistan24 provided the names of the children as Lazim Murad Hamadamin and Bahzad Awdi Yusif, referring to them as “shepherds.” Ehsan Chalabi, Mayor of Sidekan, told Kurdistan24 that the two injured civilians were in stable condition.

All of the sources that reported on the incident attributed the shooting to the Turkish armed forces.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Ground operation
  • Civilian infrastructure
    Agriculture
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Cause of injury / death
    Small arms and light weapons
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Turkish Military

Sources (5) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

  • Image of two children injured when Turkish forces allegedly shot them in Khalifan village on January 13, 2022. (Image posted by Hawar News)
  • Two children being treated for their injuries after Turkish forces shot them on January 13, 2022. (Image posted by Kurdistan24)

Turkish Military Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Turkish Military
  • Turkish Military position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Ground operation
  • Civilian infrastructure
    Agriculture
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Cause of injury / death
    Small arms and light weapons
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Turkish Military

Sources (5) [ collapse]