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Turkey accused of war crimes in second attack on UN-administered refugee camp

TURKEY was again accused of war crimes today after carrying out fresh air strikes on the United Nations-administered Makhmour refugee camp in northern Iraq.

Camp officials told the Morning Star that the attack had started in the early hours of the morning, but no casualties were reported.

“There was no loss of life in the drone attack on Makhmour and the bomb dropped in the garden of a house,” the official said.

Footage of the aftermath showed damage to buildings, including glass strewn over a child’s cot by the impact of the blast.

“This picture says it all,” the official said, adding that Turkey’s continued attacks on the camp amount to war crimes. He urged the international community to break its silence on the issue.

Today’s attack was the second time that Turkish have hit the camp in the space of a few months, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claiming that it was “an incubator of terrorism” due to residents’ support for the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

In June, he issued a chilling threat, saying that if the UN did not “clean it up, we will do it as a UN member.”

Days later, Turkish air strikes killed three civilians in the camp, which lies in a contested area between Iraqi federal government territory and that of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), 112 miles from the border with Turkey.

The camp is home to some 12,000 Kurdish refugees, most of whom fled south-east Turkey during forced assimilation operations in the 1990s. More than 3,000 Kurdish villages were burnt to the ground and thousands of people were killed and disappeared, with bodies dumped in mass graves.

In 2014, the Makhmour camp was seized by Isis jihadists as they swept across the region, taking control of large swathes of Iraqi and Syrian territory.

But only about a month later, they were driven out of the camp by PKK guerillas, who were thanked by KRG President Masoud Barzani for their efforts.

Turkey has recently stepped up its four-month-old war against Kurds in the region, on which the global media has remained virtually silent.

Ankara insists that its military operations are justified actions against the PKK. 

But it has been accused of a litany of atrocities, including use of chemical weapons and driving thousands of Kurdish villagers from their homes.

Last month, Turkish missiles struck a busy marketplace in the Yazidi region of Shengal, assassinating a military commander who was on his way to meet Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Khadimi.

Just days after that attack, Turkish missiles hit a hospital in Shengal, killing eight people including four health workers.

Earlier this week, Ankara was accused of responsibility for a bomb explosion in a Yazidi refugee camp that killed two children.

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