Melike Gul DemirThe Turkish military launched an air bombing campaign near the town of Derik in Rojava, Syria, and Shingal (Sinjar)-home to Kurdish Yazidis- in northern Iraq escalating the tension in the areas. The air raid drew rebuke from both the United States and Iraq, which accused Turkey of not properly coordinating the strikes with the coalition forces.
The government of the Iraqi region of Kurdistan reported that five Peshmerga fighters were killed during the air raids.
According to a report from the Rojava region, the airstrikes targeted a cultural center, a media center, and a local radio station.
The People’s Protection Units (YPG), issued a statement saying that some military buildings were shelled in the attack killing twenty YPG fighters. The statement said:
“At 2 AM on Tuesday, April 25, 2017, Turkish airplanes launched a large-scale attack on the headquarters of the General Command of the People’s Defense Units (YPG) in Mount Karachok near the town of Derik hitting a media center, a local radio station, communication headquarters and some military institutions. This treacherous attack has led to the death and wounding of many our comrades. Further details will be released later on.“
US-led coalition representatives along with YPG commanders visited the site of Turkish airstrikes in Derik by Turkish Armed Forces to inspect the damage.
Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) published a statement saying “On April 25, 2017, at 2 a.m., an airstrike was launched in North Iraq/Sincar Mountain, and North East of Syria/Karaçok Mountain and the determined terrorist target were hit.” The Turkish military said the raids targeted “terrorist hotbeds” and supply routes used by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to smuggle arms and explosive material into Turkey.
The Co-Chair of Democratic Union Party Saleh Muslim asked the international coalition to get involved saying “Rojava and Şengal are being targeted, but they are resistant people, and they will keep being resolute.”
State Department spokesman Mark Toner said that the US had expressed concerns to the Turkish government adding “These airstrikes were not approved by the coalition and led to the unfortunate loss of life of our partner forces in the fight against ISIS that includes members of the Kurdish peshmerga,” to reporters on a conference call.