Sinjar and Makhmour bombed for three hours by Turkish aircraft

Mount Sinjar are burning as a result of the Turkish bombardment. Photo: Roj News

Ammar Aziz- Nineveh

For three hours, Turkish warplanes bombarded several locations in the districts of Sinjar and Makhmour, resulting in staggering losses of life and property.

On the night of June 14, numerous Turkish warplanes flew over Sinjar an Makhmour for more than three hours for the stated objective of bombing outposts of forces associated with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK)

Haso Ibrahim, Deputy Co-President of the Self-Governing Democratic Council of Sinjar told Kirkuk Now, “In the bombardment of Sinjar, for 45 minutes, about 20 missiles targeted Mount Sinjar and surrounding areas. The sound was so deafening, people did not sleep out of fear that night.”

Four members of the Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS) were wounded in the bombings and three vehicles and a wheel loader were burned.

As a result of the bombardment, a wide area of agricultural land was destroyed by fires, and at the time of writing, the fires had not been controlled.

Fahd Hamdi, the acting district commissioner of Sinjar, told Kirkuk Now, “Turkey’s objective is to terrorize our people so that they do not return to their homeland. So, [the Turks] are using the presence of the YBS as a pretext to bomb the area even though those forces are comprised of our people and they have a role in protecting the area.”

Sinjar, Ezidis demonstrate against Turkish airstrikes, January 19, 2019. Photo: KirkukNow

Several days before the assault, Sinjar began receiving an influx of Ezidi returnees from IDP camps in Duhok.

“At this time, we still don’t know how many lives were lost to the bombing raids, but dozens of dunams of agricultural land around Mount Sinjar have been destroyed and the fires continue to rage. Meanwhile, many people, young and old and the displaced people in particular, are facing great anxiety and fear,” said the district commissioner.

“These attacks will strengthen us and no aggressor will force us to leave Sinjar. While we are still alive, we will defend [it] and we demand that the federal government and the United Nations speak up immediately,” Fahd Hamdi insisted.

The Joint Command Operation of the Iraqi Ministry of Defense issued a statement today (June 15, 2020), condemning Turkey’s violation of Iraqi airspace by sending 18 fighter jets 193 km deep into Iraqi territory to bombard Sinjar and Makhmour. It also confirmed the presence of Turkish aircraft above Gwer and Erbil.

Rashad Galali, a deputy with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan’s (PUK) branch in Makhmour told Kirkuk Now, “the Turkish war planes hovered over the area for three hours and bombed Mount Qarachokh and the Makhmour Camp area 30 to 40 times.” 

Makhmour Camp lies in the district of Makhmour, about 60 km west of Erbil. The camp provides shelter to least 12,000 Kurds from Turkey who left their homes as a result of state counterinsurgency operations in southeastern Turkey (areas regarded by Kurds as part of the Kurdistan) during the 1990s. The camp is officially operated by the Iraqi government and the United Nations.

According to Galali, there was no loss of life in the bombings last night but the people are terrified and anxious.

This is not the first time that the Turkish air force has bombed Sinjar or the Makhmour camp. Since the end of 2018, there have been several assaults on these areas undertaken by the Turkish armed forces on the pretext that the PKK has established a presence there. Many civilians have been killed or wounded as a result of the attacks.

Sinjar and Makhmour are districts of Nineveh province regarded as “disputed territories”. Administratively, they fall within federal jurisdiction and their security is managed by the federal government. 

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