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.