Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

TI061

Incident date

June 5, 2021

Location

مخمور, Makhmour Refugee Camp, Erbil, Iraq

Geolocation

35.755637, 43.603063 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

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.”

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.”

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.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 3
  • Civilians reported injured
    2–5
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Known attacker
    Turkish Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Other
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–3

Sources (18) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (5) [ collapse]

  • Caption translation: 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." Kalali added, "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." (Images from Baghdad Today)
  • Caption translation: 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." Kalali added, "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." (Images from Baghdad Today)
  • Caption translation: 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." Kalali added, "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." (Images from Baghdad Today)

Geolocation notes

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 Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

Turkish Armed Forces

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.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 3
  • Civilians reported injured
    2–5
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Known attacker
    Turkish Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Other
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–3

Sources (18) [ collapse]