Iraq: Western powers accused of complicity in Turkish airstrike on Kurdish refugee camp

February 7, 2022
People gathered at the funeral for those killed during the bombing of the Makhmour Refugee Camp in northern Iraq. Photo: Morning Star

Kurdish officials have accused Western powers of complicity in Turkish airstrikes that killed two people and injured many more at the United Nations-administered Makhmour Refugee Camp in northern Iraq.

It was heavily bombarded on February 1, with missiles also targeting areas in Shengal, where thousands were massacred at the hands of ISIS in the 2014 Yazidi genocide.

The town of Derik, in northeast Syria, was also struck just hours after the burial of 12 Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters who were killed in the recently thwarted ISIS prison break in Hasaka province.

“Iraqi airspace is controlled by the [United States-led] coalition,” camp officials told the Morning Star. “Turkey cannot make air strikes without their permission.”

“Twelve thousand people live here and we are under the guarantee of the UN. We call on everyone to take care of us.”

Turkey frequently bombs Makhmour camp with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan branding it “an incubator of terrorism,” accusing it of housing fighters from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

The UN rarely speaks out after such incidents and has been accused of collusion with Turkey and NATO.

The latest attacks were branded “revenge for Hasaka” with Turkey known to support jihadist groups in Syria to fight against Kurds as part of a genocide operation.

During the attempted prison break, Turkey launched air strikes on an SDF convoy preventing it from providing reinforcements in the battle against ISIS, effectively providing the jihadists with air cover.

The latest attacks, which Turkey said hit 80 targets, were condemned by Baghdad as “a violation of Iraqi airspace” and of the country’s sovereignty.

Resistance forces inside Iraq have promised to “teach Turkish forces a tough lesson”.

Qais al-Khazali, a leading figure in the Iranian-backed Popular Mobilisation Forces said the expansion of military bases had exacerbated tensions and vowed to drive Turkey out of the country.

“We affirm that the barbaric Turkish moves will not go unanswered and will be dealt with when the time is right,” al-Khazali said.

“We will force them to withdraw from Iraqi soil as we did with respect to American occupation troops.”

Western countries continue to arm Turkey despite allegations of war crimes.

[Abridged from Morning Star.]

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