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Children targeted in Turkish airstrike in Iraqi Kurdistan

TURKISH war planes targeted children paddling in a pool near a popular tourist resort in Iraqi Kurdistan on Thursday in a sickening attack which killed at least three people and injured eight others.

Footage taken by the brother of writer Jil Swani showed families splashing about in water in a picnic area in Sulaymaniyah, with the sound of children laughing unexpectedly pierced by the roar of jet engines.

The footage ends abruptly aqs missiles struck the area causing panic and chaos as people fled.

Mr Swani later confirmed that those seen in the video were safe and well, but four children and two women were among those injured in the attack.

The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) demanded an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council today and, highlighting continuous violations of Iraqi sovereignty by Turkish warplanes.

“A legal committee needs to be set up to register complaints against Turkey in international courts,” a statement said.

Turkey’s Defence Ministry claims it has hit hundreds of targets in the mountainous border area between Turkey and Iraq since it launched Operation Claw Eagle on June 15.

Ankara insists it is a major offensive against Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) bases in northern Iraq and is not targeting civilians.

But the operation opened with missile strikes on Sengal and the Maxmur refugee camp, administered by the UN refugee agency, UNHCR.

The camp is home to around 15,000 mainly Kurdish civilians who were forced to flee Turkey in the 1990s when more than 3,000 villages were burnt to the ground as part of forced-assimilation operations.

Iraqi President Barham Salih demanded an end to the bombings and the opening of dialogue to resolve “border security issues.”

“The Presidency of the Republic of Iraq calls for an end to the violations that affect national sovereignty as a result of the repeated Turkish military operations and its violation of Iraqi airspace, which killed a number of unarmed civilians,” he said today.

The Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) — an umbrella organisation which includes the PKK — accused the Turkish state of waging genocide against Kurds but insisted that the people would not bow to them.

“Sulaymaniyah is the city where contemporary Kurdish patriotism first took shape,” the KCK explained in a statement.

“The people of Sulaymaniyah have always been open to new ideas … Various movements of thought and political tendencies have developed in this region … in the fields of literature, art and culture,” it said.

This is why the city has been targeted, KCK claimed, warning of an attempt to drive a wedge between the PUK and PKK.


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