07/21/2022, 11.39
IRAQ - TURKEY
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Bombings on tourists in Kurdistan, 9 dead including a 1-year-old child

Outrage throughout Iraq at the massacre caused by artillery strikes on a park. Blame laid at Turkey's door over raids on Iraqi territory against the Kurds of the PKK. Baghdad recalls the chargé d'affaires in Ankara and will take the matter to the UN Security Council.

Erbil (AsiaNews) - Nine people have been killed, including a one year old child, in a massacre that took place yesterday in the park of a resort in Zakho, in Iraqi Kurdistan, a few kilometres from the border with Turkey. At least five artillery shells rained down shortly after midday on the resort when about 20 buses full of tourists had just arrived.

In addition to the victims - mostly families who had climbed the mountains of Kurdistan for a day of refreshment from the torrid heat - another 26 people were wounded, including many women and children in a massacre that, one day after the summit on Syria in Tehran between Putin, Raissi and Erdogan, shines a spotlight on the ongoing war being led by the Turkish army on Iraqi territory against the bases of the Kurdish militias of the PKK.

The Iraqi authorities immediately laid teh blame on Turkey for its responsibility in this massacre: from Baghdad, Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi warned that it reserves the "right to retaliate", calling the artillery fire a "flagrant violation" of sovereignty. The same tone came from the local Kurdish administration, with Prime Minister Masrour Barzani calling in a note for an international enquiry and warning that "this must stop".

There were also protests in front of Turkish consulates in several cities in Iraq. Baghdad recalled its chargé d'affaires in Ankara and summoned the Turkish ambassador, demanding an official apology from Turkey along with the 'withdrawal of its armed forces from all Iraqi territory'. He also announced that he would take the matter to the UN Security Council.

Ankara responded by claiming that "these kinds of attacks" are the work of "terrorist organisations" and that Turkey in its campaign against the PKK takes into consideration "the protection of civilians and infrastructure".

The claim is ocuntered by the evidence of recent months on the borders between Turkey, Syria and Iraq. It dates back to just a few weeks ago - for example - the news of the Turkish army's raid against the Assyrian Christian village of Tel Tamr, in the Syrian governorate of Hassaké, in an area with a Kurdish majority, with the destruction of a church that had already been hit in 2015 by Isis. Local sources on that occasion spoke of heavy damage to homes, hit by the 'indiscriminate shelling'.

As early as last November, AsiaNews reported on the bombing of Kurdish and Christian villages in the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan, which had led the population to flock to the towns of Zakho and Dohuk. The fact that it was a tourist attraction that was hit in Zakho clearly indicates a desire to undermine the economic recovery of the region, brought to its knees by the pandemic and the conflict.

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