Three people were killed Tuesday when a Turkish air raid hit a clinic in northwest Iraq, a region Ankara regularly targets in operations against Kurdish separatists, security and medical sources said.
The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) — categorized as a terrorist organization by Ankara — has waged a decades-long insurgency against Turkey and maintains bases in the rugged mountains of neighboring northern Iraq.
Repeated Turkish raids have stoked tensions with Baghdad, but President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned that his country will deal with the PKK presence if Iraq is unable to do so.
Tuesday’s raid “totally destroyed” the makeshift clinic in the village of Sekaina in Sinjar province, the district’s deputy mayor Jalal Khalef Bisso told AFP.
A doctor in Sinjar said at least three people were killed and five others wounded. The raid consisted of three drone strikes, another official said.
A senior Iraqi army officer told AFP that the raid was carried out by Turkey’s military.
A Turkish air strike on Monday targeted and killed a senior Yazidi official of an Iraqi force linked to the PKK in Sinjar, along with two colleagues.
Monday’s raid also wounded a PKK official, a member of the Yazidi minority.
He was transferred for treatment to the Sekaina facility that was hit Tuesday, according to a Yazidi activist contacted by AFP. The PKK official had survived.
Images shared online by purported residents showed a basement and clinic reduced to rubble and black smoke rising into the air.
— Mutlu Civiroglu (@mutludc) August 17, 2021
Turkey has installed around a dozen military bases over the past 25 years in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region, and it launched a new cross-border offensive in the spring against the PKK, consisting of both aerial and ground attacks.
Ankara is determined to neutralize the cross-border rear-bases of the PKK, which has since 1984 led a bloody guerrilla war against Turkey that has seen more than 40,000 deaths.
Iraq regularly decries violations of its sovereignty and has repeatedly summoned the Turkish ambassador over Ankara’s cross-border military campaign.
But Iraq, which counts on Turkey as an important commercial partner, has refrained from taking punitive measures.
The Turkish offensive in Iraqi Kurdistan — particularly aerial bombing — has prompted hundreds of villagers to flee their homes.
A farmer was killed by Turkish army fire on Friday during a clash with the PKK.