A word from friends at Christian Peacemaker Teams.
Stand in solidarity with the members of the “Hear Us Now: Stop The Bombing!” campaign in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Sign this open letter to the Kurdistan Regional Government demanding they take action to stop all cross border bombings and respond to the needs of those affected.
A few minutes past noon on 10 July 2019, 18-year-old Zeitun had just begun to serve lunch for herself and her two brothers, Sirwan (16 years old) and Ali (21), when shells began to explode near the family’s cucumber and tomato fields in the area of the Barbezin heights (in the sub-district of Sidekan, Iraqi Kurdistan). The three siblings had stayed behind working in the field after the rest of the family left to attend a funeral in their hometown of Diana.
According to local residents, Iranian forces bombarded the Barbezin area for over one hour with around 40 shells, one of which killed Zeitun and seriously wounded Ali and Sirwan. Doctors retrieved 16 pieces of shrapnel from Ali’s body. He lost one eye and sustained severe injuries to his leg and foot. A piece of shrapnel penetrated the elbow of Sirwan.
For over 30 years, the government of Turkey, and more recently, the Iranian government have engaged in cross-border bombing campaigns against multiple armed groups operating from within Iraqi Kurdistan. These bombardments have taken the lives of many families within Iraqi Kurdistan. Though the Turkish and Iranian governments deny that these assaults are targeting civilians, since 2018, Turkish and Iranian targeted bombings have escalated, and civilian casualties continue to rise.
In 2019 the Turkish military conducted over 350 bombings along the border region of Iraqi Kurdistan including targeting vehicles on roads between villages.
On June 27, 2019, the Turkish military fired a rocket at the vehicle of Abdullah Aali Mina killing him along with his daughter, Kurdistan, and his 17 yr old son, Haryad. The blast also wounded five additional family members, including his wife. They were returning home after a day-trip to their family lands in Ashqolka village near Sangasar. Initial reports claim that there was a PKK vehicle in the area and the Turkish military fired upon both vehicles.
There is an urgent need for diplomatic peace talks between the involved parties in these conflicts.
Members of communities all over Iraqi Kurdistan have joined voices under the “Hear us Now: Stop the Bombing!” campaign. This campaign calls for an immediate end to these cross border assaults that are deeply impacting the lives of so many living in the region. Stand in solidarity. Sign the letter outlining four of the main goals of their campaign.