11/06/2021, 08.14
IRAQ - TURKEY
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PKK: Ankara used chemical weapons in 'at least 300 attacks' in Kurdistan

The Kurdish fighters are considered terrorists by the Turks (and part of the West). The movement's leaders are calling, in vain, for an international enquiry. AsiaNews Source: "Partly true", the mountainous places on the Iraqi side where they take refuge "cannot be attacked with conventional weapons".

Erbil (AsiaNews) - Turkey is alleged to have used chemical weapons "on at least 300 occasions" (including) in its repeated attacks on Kurdish rebels who have taken refuge across the border in Iraqi territory,  in the guilty silence of the international community, which has never investigated appeals and denunciations.

The Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK), the target of Ankara's air raids, are demanding an international inquiry, inviting independent delegations and institutions to visit the region of Iraqi Kurdistan and inspect the tunnels dug in the mountains in search of evidence. 

However, the report, published by Opendemocracy, cannot be defined 'independent', but other rumours confirm an ambiguous use of weapons by the Turkish army.

"It is partly true," an authoritative source in the Kurdish region told AsiaNews, requesting anonymity for security reasons. For months," he continued, "there have been heavy clashes between Ankara's army and the PKK in the areas around Erbil and near the border with Iran, in Sulaymaniyya. The Kurdish fighters use caves in the mountains, in the vicinity of Qandil there would be a sort of city, which cannot be attacked with conventional weapons. That is why they used gas to flush out the militiamen and many died, including their families. 

In the complaint, the Kurdish fighters ask the international community to visit the tunnels and check for traces of chemical weapons that still persist on the rock sediments or to examine the bodies of the guerrillas who died in the offensives. The PKK has reportedly published videos and images of the attacks, parts of the bodies of those killed and testimonies from survivors, as well as accounts from the local population, who were also victims of the violence. 

On 11 October, the pro-Kurdish Mezopotamya News Agency reported that at least 548 people had sought medical treatment after an attack near their village by the Turkish air force. The people reported 'excessive lacrimation, altered vision, sudden headaches, nosebleeds and breathing difficulties'.

The leadership of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), which controls the region, reportedly worked with Turkish officials to silence the rumours. On 4 September, a newspaper close to the KDP reported a family victim of a "suspected chemical attack" with the local government committed to stifling the investigation. In the past, chemical weapons were allegedly used on Syrian territory in the darkest years of the conflict. 

The Kurds state it is 'shocking' that these allegations have not led to the opening of an investigation, or at least an international verification, especially in light of the precedents in the era of Rais Saddam Hussein, who used chemical weapons on several occasions.

On several occasions, as happened last month following a formal request by a Swedish parliamentarian, the EU leadership rejected the request for an investigation, stressing that the Pkk is an "organisation involved in terrorist attacks" and the subject of "punitive" measures by Brussels.

This is why an 'independent investigation' is now necessary, although it is difficult to obtain evidence because 'Ankara blocks investigations and exploits the little pressure from international organisations. 

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Fr. Samir: Twin virus of Covid and Turkish bombs emptying Kurdistan
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Bishop of Arbil: a "cry of pain" over the Turkish attack in Kurdistan
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