Turkish bombardment has killed a Kurdish shepherd in northern Iraq, a local official said on Friday, the first known civilian victim of Ankara’s latest military offensive on the region.
The official from Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region, İhsan Chalabi, told AFP the shepherd was killed early Thursday morning when Turkish air strikes hit the Bradost district.
On Wednesday Turkey launched a cross-border operation in the mountainous terrain of northern Iraq where the rebel Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has rear bases.
Ankara considers the PKK a terrorist organization because of its decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state.
Turkey has sporadically bombed PKK hideouts in northern Iraq, but its new operation, dubbed “Claw-Tiger,” is a dramatic escalation and has prompted scores of families in the area to flee, according to local activists.
Iraq’s foreign ministry has summoned Turkish Ambassador Fatih Yıldız twice this week, demanding Ankara withdraw its special forces and halt the bombing campaign.
But Yıldız has been defiant, telling Iraqi authorities that if Baghdad did not take action against the rebels, Ankara would continue to “fight the PKK wherever it is.”
Iraq even summoned Iran’s envoy in response to cross-border shelling of Kurdish areas of northern Iraq. Iran, which has its own Kurdish minority, has also been fighting Kurdish rebels who use Iraq as a base.