Turkish military shelling in Iraq leaves 19-year-old Kurdish girl dead

Turkish military shelling in an area along the Turkey-Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) border in northern Iraq on Saturday resulted in the death of a young Kurdish woman, according to a report by Kurdistan 24.

The report said the shelling occurred near the village of Helena in the Sherwan region in the border area between Kurdistan and Turkey. Nineteen-year-old Donia Naji, who was working with family members in a field, was killed after being hit by a mortar shell fired by Turkish troops.

“At 3:30 p.m., as a result of the continued Turkish shelling of the area, my daughter was killed while she was in the fields,” Naji’s father Rashid told Kurdistan 24. “Turkish planes are often in our area. We don’t know why Turkey bombed this area; there is no Kurdistan Workers’ Party [PKK] presence. There is a large civilian population,” the victim’s father added.

Meanwhile, Turkish airstrikes have neutralized eight PKK militants in Turkey’s southeastern and eastern provinces, and northern Iraq, the Turkish military said on Sunday. Turkish authorities often use the word “neutralized” in their statements to imply the militants in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.

In a message on Twitter, the Turkish General Staff said fighter jets had conducted airstrikes on Saturday and Sunday in northern Iraq’s Zap region and in rural areas of southeastern Şırnak and eastern Van provinces.

Airstrikes on PKK targets in northern Iraq have been carried out regularly since July 2015, when the PKK resumed its decades-long armed campaign.

Turkey has recently stepped up its air campaign in the Qandil Mountains of the northern Kurdistan region where the outlawed PKK has bases. The PKK has been locked in a decades-long fight with the Turkish government. Tensions increased following the collapse of a two-year ceasefire between the rebel group and Ankara in 2015.

Turkey’s military has advanced up to 20 kilometers into some areas of the KRG to target the PKK, and bombardment from Turkish jets occasionally results in the death of civilians unaffiliated with the PKK.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU. In its violent campaign against Turkey, which has lasted for more than three decades, over 40,000 people have been killed, including women and children.

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