Clashes between protesters and security forces of the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in the area of Ranya left 16 protesters dead and over 90 injured, according to local sources covering the tensions.
On December 19, the riots entered the second day after with a demand to pay delayed salaries and to provide enhanced services. According to reports, KRG security forces opened fire at protestors in response to the riots.
However, the number of casualties among protestors still has to be verified because the both sides use social media to spread propaganda.
On the same time pro-KRG media reported that demonstrators opened fire at a local office of the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) loyal to former KRG President Massoud Barzani.
Demonstrators also reportedly torched some offices of the KDP.
A curfew was also declared in the areas of Chamchamal and Kafri after demonstrations had erupted there.
The KRG has been facing a significant pressure since the illegal independence referendum held in the KRG-held area in September. The KRG was not able to use the referendum for its own interest. In turn, it lost a number of contested areas and faced an additional pressure on the regional and international levels. Then KRG President Barzani resigned.
Now, the region is facing an internal political crisis.
#BREAKING – First footage from #Rania where #Kurdish ‘revolutionaries’ surround #KDP Party 11th Branch in Rania after 16 protesters were shot dead and over 90 injured. Fighters state “there is no escape for #KDP guards now, their ammunition will run out soon.” pic.twitter.com/hozAOTnrAX
— SURA (@AlSuraEnglish) 19 December 2017