On August 18th, the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) said that it had downed a Turkish helicopter on the border of Iraqi Kurdistan in retaliation for the death of one of its commanders in the previous week.
The helicopter was reportedly downed on August 16th.
There is no official confirmation from the Turkish side of the incident yet.
Reports of a Turkish helicopter being downed. Saw some PKK affiliated outlets saying the same but yet to see any evidence. https://t.co/NrJj0Nhdp7
— Jake Hanrahan (@Jake_Hanrahan) August 17, 2020
The mayor of Kani Massi, near the Turkish border, confirmed that a Turkish helicopter had crashed nearby.
According to the Media Centre of the Kurdistan People’s Defense Forces (HPG), the group launched a military operation in which it targeted a helicopter near Jarjla Square in the Zagros region, and managed a direct hit, which resulted in an aircraft being downed.
“Ten minutes after the shooting-down of the first helicopter, our forces hit another one … forcing it to flee,” the group continued.
Furthermore, they claimed that another helicopter had been targeted after it had taken off from the Çarçel hill. Effective strikes left the helicopter heavily damaged and forced it to retreat from the area.
The statement said that the actions were carried out in memory of HPG commander Agit Garzan and two Iraqi commanders who fell in a targeted attack by the Turkish army in Southern Kurdistan (Northern Iraq).
The strike took place on August 11th and as a result Iraq summoned the Turkish Ambassador to Baghdad for the third time in two months.
Regardless, on August 14th, Turkish bombardment killed three Kurdish fighters in the region.
Ankara defends its right to bomb the PKK, which it considers to be a “terrorist” organization, and accuses Baghdad and Iraqi Kurdistan of turning a blind eye to the group’s activities.
Baghdad for its part has sought to rally support to end Ankara’s offensive on its soil.
The US and the EU also consider the PKK a terrorist organization.
Turkey, which has had a military presence in Iraq’s autonomous region for a quarter of a century, launched a cross-border ground and air operation against the PKK in the mountainous region in mid-June.
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