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Mercosur President demands immediate ceasefire amid fears of Turkish war crimes in Iraqi Kurdistan

PRESIDENT of the Mercosur parliament Oscar Alberto Laborde called for an immediate ceasefire and an end to Turkey’s invasion of Kurdish regions in Syria and Iraq today.

Failure to abide by international law and continued violations against sovereign nations mean that both economic and military sanctions should be considered against the brutal regime of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the head of the South American trade bloc’s assembly said.

He appealed to the UN, the EU and other institutions to demand an urgent and immediate ceasefire and for Turkey to respect human rights.

Mr Laborde called for an end to Turkey’s war on Kurds and the resumption of peace talks.

“The Turkish state is violating international law principles,” the Argentinian said, adding: “I make this call to the international community to stand against these attacks. Dialogue can be developed only within the framework of a peace process.”

Ankara launched Operation Claw Eagle on June 15, the same day that the country’s opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) launched its week-long march for democracy.

Mr Erdogan’s government claimed that it is a major offensive against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has bases in the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan.

But the assault began with air strikes targeting Sengal, the site of a 2014 genocide during which Isis executed about 5,000 men and boys and took more than 7,000 women and girls into captivity, using them as sex slaves.

Turkish war planes also bombed the UNHCR-administered Maxmur refugee camp, home to 15,000 mainly Kurdish civilians who fled Turkey in the 1990s when more than 3,000 villages were burnt to the ground by the state during forced assimilation operations.

The UNHCR (the UN refugee agency) has failed to respond to the Morning Star’s daily request for comment and has failed to speak out, despite the alleged use of chemical weapons and a year-long embargo by Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government leaving the camp short of much-needed medical and other supplies.

Turkey’s aerial bombardment and ground assault have caused many to flee the volatile border areas with more than 50 villages placed under lockdown.

Zerevan Musa, the head of the local administration in Berkar, said: “Neither tourists nor farmers are allowed to visit the border areas because they are not safe.”

The attacks are having a major impact as the affected areas account for some 60 per cent of agricultural produce for the Zakho district. Locals have been forced to import food from Turkey and Iran at inflated cost.

According to local officials, some 361 villages in Duhok province have been abandoned due to Turkish air strikes over the past 20 years.

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