At least three people were killed and up to five others were injured in an alleged Turkish drone strike on Makhmour Refugee Camp south of Erbil in Kurdistan, Iraq. The Turkish government and their sources refer to those killed as members of the PKK while local and international sources refer to those killed and wounded as civilians.
The official of the National Union in Makhmour, Rashad Kalali, told Baghdad Today, “Turkish warplanes bombed Makhmour camp, located minutes ago, in the south of the district. The bombing targeted gardens for children inside the camp, which led to 3 casualties and 4 injuries,” explaining that “the camp is for Turkish refugees who have lived in it since 1997.”
A member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, Gazi Kakai, also told Mangish “Turkish bombing targeted a refugee camp, specifically a park for children’s games, killing 3 and wounding 5 others” and “those who are inside the camp have nothing to do with the [Kurdistan Workers Party] PKK, and they have been in Makhmour since 1997 in accordance with the Refugee Protection Convention.”
The Kurdistan Party has referred to those killed as “civilians” and Deutsche Welle reported that “three civilians were killed and two more injured on Saturday in a Turkish missile attack on a refugee camp in northern Iraq.”
Hassan, a Kurdish resident of the camp from Turkey, told Middle East Eye: “Five, ten minutes before some airstrikes I was there. It was really, really bad. Two persons, two civilians, they got killed.”
US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas Greenfield tweeted that “I made clear to Turkish officials that any attack targeting civilians at Makhmour refugee camp would be a violation of international and humanitarian law.”
A few days prior to the incident, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had threatened to “clean up” Makhmour camp because it was being used as a base for the PKK.
According to Reuters, “Erdogan said that Selman Bozkir, who he said was a senior PKK official and manager of the Makhmour camp, had been “neutralised” – a term Turkish authorities use for targets who have been killed or wounded.” In addition, “an Iraqi security official said PKK officials at the camp had prevented police from entering the camp after the air strike, and declined to share details of the casualties.”
Daily Sabbah, a Turkish pro-government source, also added that “the PKK terrorist group’s so-called Makhmour regional leader in northern Iraq code-named “Doctor Hüseyin” was eliminated” and ” two more terrorists were neutralized in the operation,” referring to Makhmour as “portrayed as a refugee camp but actually serving as a recruitment and training area for the PKK.”
Kurdistan 24 reported “A security source who asked not to be named told Kurdistan 24 that the Turkish drone also struck a PKK outpost near the camp. “The Turkish drone targeted a headquarters of PKK militants located in the vicinity of the refugee camp,” they said, killing and wounding several PKK members.”
Tweeting about the incident in January 2022, @SimonaFoltyn said an Iraqi intel source told her those killed were fighters.
All of the sources that reported on the incident confirm that Turkey was responsible and the Turkish president took credit for the operation on Twitter, thanking his security forces for a successful operation and naming Selman Bozkir as being killed.
The local time of the incident is unknown.
Sources (20) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention a children’s playing ground within the Makhmour Refugee Camp (مخمور), for which the generic coordinates are: 35.755637, 43.603063. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.
Turkish Military Assessment:
Original strike reports
Here I want to give good news to our nation.
Selman Bozkır, code-named "Doctor Hüseyin", the senior manager of the terrorist organization PKK and the general manager of Mahmur, was neutralized by the heroes of our National Intelligence Organization yesterday.
On behalf of my nation, I would like to thank all my friends who contributed to this successful operation.
We will not allow the treacherous and separatist organization to use Mahmur as an "incubation center" for terrorism, and we will continue to dry terrorism at its source.