Turkey’s Repeated Airstrikes Force Christian Villagers in Iraq to Flee | Persecution

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Turkey’s Repeated Airstrikes Force Christian Villagers in Iraq to Flee

04/10/2019 Iraq (International Christian Concern) –  On Tuesday, April 9, villagers fled as the Turkish military launched yet another series of airstrikes in the Kurdistan Region. The chain of attacks was launched in claims of targeting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) positions.

The strikes hit the outskirts of Belmand, Ribatka and Meruk, three Christian villages in the Amadiya (Amedi) District of Duhok Province. These villages, along with neighboring communities, have fled the region out of fear of being injured or killed by ongoing Turkish air strikes.

The Turkish government has repeatedly attacked areas in Kurdistan Region in past months, killing many Christians civilians with no claims of PKK affiliation.

To be honest with you, it [bombardment] has affected us a great deal. We are very scared. Our areas are damaged and our walls are broken,” said an elderly villager in Meruk.  

People are evacuating. One of my neighbors went to Duhok [city] and the other went to Mosul. Many families have left. We are obliged to stay because we have no other homes. Otherwise, we would not have been here in the first place.

The PKK has been engaged in a decades-long insurgency against Turkey over Kurdish rights and self-rule and is designated as a “terrorist” group. Displaced Kurdish and Christian families continue to call on Ankara and the PKK to take their fighting elsewhere.

As the conflict between Turkey’s government and the Kurds heats up, the small Christian minority in the Southeast regions continues to suffer. In lands that once held a significant number of Christians, Christian communities have been struggling to build a sustainable life.

For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: press@persecution.org.

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