The Assyrian Policy Institute announces the release of our new report, Caught in the Crossfire: Assyrians and the Turkey-PKK Conflict in Iraq. For decades, Assyrians in Iraq have been caught in the crossfire of the ongoing conflict between Turkey and the militant Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) along the Iraqi-Turkish border.
Turkey has consistently pursued the PKK in northern Iraq with little regard for the negative consequences for civilian populations who inhabit the same areas occupied by the militant group. The airborne attacks often occur in close proximity to areas mainly inhabited by Assyrian civilians, posing significant risks including: endangerment of civilian life, displacement, traumatization, destruction of property, and agricultural lands, and threats to livelihoods.
The PKK continues to endanger civilian populations by operating from or near civilian areas, carrying out attacks on Turkey and Turkish military bases in the KRI.
This first-of-its-kind report documents the dates and locations of Turkish airstrikes across 2020 which occurred in close proximity to villages inhabited by Assyrians in Duhok Governorate. It also examines the consistent challenges to the security and livelihoods of Assyrians as a result of the hostilities. The API has obtained information in regard to 52 incidents in 2020 in which Turkish strikes targeted areas inhabited by Assyrians.