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
Sources (7) [ collapse]
Location of Zergele (via TRT)