On August 11th, a Turkish drone strike on a military vehicle north of Erbil resulted in the death of two Iraqi border guard battalion commanders and their driver, the Iraqi military said.
Ihsan Chalabi, mayor of Sidakan said that the two slain officers were Zubair Hali Bradosti and Mohammed Rashid Sulaiman, both Kurds.
اعتداء تركي سافر مِن خلال طائرة مسيرة استهدفت عجلة عسكرية لحرس الحدود في منطقة سيدكان وتسببت في استشهاد آمر اللواء الثاني حرس حدود المنطقة الاولى وامر الفوج الثالت / اللواء الثاني وسائق العجلة .
— خلية الإعلام الأمني?? (@SecMedCell) August 11, 2020
The Iraqi Security Media Cell later confirmed the strike, attributing it to Turkey. The body’s tweet clarified that the two border officials, as well as a driver were killed in a military vehicle.
The strike came after Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) members opened fire on Iraqi border guards earlier on August 11th.
“Last night, a number of Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) fighters neared the Border Guards’ berms in the vicinity of the Sidakan sub-district resulting in a quarrel at first and later some bullets were fired, resulting in no casualties,” Maj. Gen. Hemad Dizayee, commander of the Border Guards Command said.
Iraqi border guards have established a number of new bases for its border force bases on the Kurdistan Region-Turkey border in past months currently heightened PKK-Turkey conflict into towns and villages.
Turkey began air and ground military operations – Claw-Eagle and Claw-Tiger – in the Kurdistan Region and Iraq’s disputed territories in mid-June, with the stated aim of removing suspected PKK targets from the area. Seven civilians have been killed in the operations.
Turkey has conducted airstrikes and ground operations against the PKK within Iraq’s borders for years, accusing the federal Iraqi government and Kurdistan Regional Government of failing to take measures against the group.
The deaths announced by the military marked the first time members of the regular Iraqi forces have been killed since Turkey began its operations.
The Iraqi foreign ministry has summoned the Turkish ambassador to Baghdad twice, but this has failed to de-escalate the tensions or halt Turkey’s offensive. Turkey has defended its operations in northern Iraq, saying neither the central government in Baghdad nor the regional Iraqi Kurdish administration have acted to remove PKK fighters who allegedly use Iraq’s territory to stage attacks on Turkey.
Witnesses had reported clashes earlier in the day, as mentioned above, between PKK and Iraqi forces, and local sources told AFP the drone strike targeted an emergency meeting called to try to calm the tensions.
The Iraqi presidency earlier denounced “a dangerous violation of Iraqi sovereignty” and called on Ankara to “stop all its military operations” in the region.
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