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

TI089

Incident date

December 2, 2022

Location

جبل اسوس شارباجار, Mount Assos, Sulaymaniyah, Iraq

Airwars assessment

At least one civilian was killed and up to five others were injured in alleged Turkish airstrikes/drone strikes on Mount Assos on December 2, 2022.

The mayor of Charbajar, Shaho Othman, told Kurdistan 24  that three people were wounded and three civilians were missing following Turkish airstrikes on Mount Assos. Kurdistan 24 later revised their casualty count to one person killed and two others wounded, adding that four people were hunting in the mountain and hiding in the cave of Kelashin when the strikes occurred and that one person is still missing.

Kurdistan Revolution posted on Facebook that a civilian named Aziz Muhammad Rasool who worked as a farmer was killed and two others were injured.

A tweet from @cptiraq reported that six civilians were victims of the bombing, with one civilian killed (Aziz Muhamed) and five others injured (Muhamad Kadir, Kwexa Muhamad, Zana Muhamad, Saeed Muhamad and Salih Kadir).

Roj News Agency, quoting the mayor of Mawat district Kamiran Hassan, reported that a group of civilians were collecting wild herbs in the village of Kalala when Turkish airstrikes hit. Mayor Kamiran Hassan told Rudaw News Network that one civilian was killed and one was injured from the bombing, and that the victims were from the village of Qamish. Medya News put the casualty toll at two civilians killed and three injured, adding that medial teams could not rescue them until late in the day because of fear of a second bombardment.

The majority of sources attributed the incident to Turkish forces, with Rudaw News pointing out that it was unknown whether the bombing was carried out by warplanes or drones.

The incident occured around midday.

The victims were named as:

Aziz Muhammad Rasool عزيز محمد رسول
Age unknown killed
Muhamad Kadir
Age unknown injured
Kwexa Muhamad
Age unknown injured
Zana Muhamad
Age unknown injured
Saeed Muhamad
Age unknown injured
Salih Kadir
Age unknown injured

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian infrastructure
    Agriculture
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1 – 2
  • Civilians reported injured
    1–5
  • 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 (10) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

  • Alleged strikes on Mount Assos on December 2, 2022. (Image posted by Kurdistan24)
  • Location of alleged Turkish drone strikes on December 2, 2022. (Image posted by @cptiraq)
  • One of the victims of the alleged Turkish strikes near Zarun village on December 2, 2022. (Image posted by @cptiraq)

Turkish Military Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian infrastructure
    Agriculture
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1 – 2
  • Civilians reported injured
    1–5
  • 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 (10) [ 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]

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

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

TI093

Incident date

August 6, 2023

Location

جمانكي, Jamanki area, Duhok, 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

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

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

TI096

Incident date

September 27, 2023

Location

قرية بوگریسکان, Bugriskan village, Sinjar district, Bashdar district , Sulaymaniyah, Iraq

Airwars assessment

A woman was killed and a man injured by two drone strikes, allegedly conducted by the Turkish military, on the village of Bugriskan, in the Sinjar district on September 27th, 2023. The strikes were also reported to have killed six Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants.

Bas News reported that the casualties occurred in “two separate air attacks,” within 10 minutes of each other: the first at 11AM followed by a second at approximately 11:10. The first strike allegedly killed four PKK members, and, due to proximity, also inflicted the first civilian injury of Mirza Ibrahim. The second strike killed two further PKK members, and severely injured 50-year-old Esti Mohammad.

After the first strike injured villager Mirza Ibrahim, and Esti Mohammad, seeing the strike near her home, went to help him. She was severely injured in the second strike; she would later die of her injuries after having been transported to a hospital in Rania. Mirza was also taken to the hospital for recovery.

Esti was the mother of seven children. Born in Zanjilan, she had been a resident of Rania for several years. She had lived in Bugriskan for ten years, and worked breeding livestock. She was engaged in her community, and a committed activist against Turkish strikes in the region.

The incident occured between 11:00 am and 11:10 am local time.

The victims were named as:

Esti Muhammad استي محمد
50 years old female killed
Mirza Ibrahim ميرزا إبراهيم
Adult male injured

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 woman)
  • 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.
  • 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
    6

Sources (8) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • Source: Roj 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 woman)
  • 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.
  • 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
    6

Sources (8) [ collapse]