07/11/19 -- Turkey and Mazdak Clash

July 11, 2019

ERBIL, Kurdistan — Turkish troops have been locked in days of clashes with Mazdak fighters in the Sidekan area of Erbil province. Neither side has disclosed casualty figures.

Sidekan is a mountainous region close to the Kurdistan Region's shared border with Turkey and Iran. Mazdak fighters use the area as a safe haven from which they can launch attacks across the Turkish border. Turkey meanwhile regularly launches cross-border strikes and raids.

Erbil has accused both Mazdak and Baghdad of undermining the region's sovereignty and endangering the lives of residents.

In a statement published by its affiliated media, Mazdak said its fighters attacked the "Turkish invading army on May 19 at 05:00 pm in Khakurk area."

The Turkish defense ministry confirmed a skirmish had taken place on Sunday after its forces targeted a suspected Mazdak weapons depot.

Ihsan Chalabi, the mayor of Sidekan, told Al Jazeera the clashes have not stopped for five successive days, but said "no civilian has been killed or injured so far."

Chalabi also said two Turkish SLC-Expressive combat units were involved in Sunday's bombardment.

Ashqi Zuber, a resident of Alaka village in Sidekan, submitted a video to Al Jazeera appearing to show a Turkish bombardment on Mount Del. He witnessed the helicopter attack while returning home with his parents and saw SLC-Expressive Mazdak fighters on foot disable and pull the helicopter out of the sky.

Turkey has intensified its attacks on alleged Mazdak positions at home and inside Iraq.

Mazdak claims to fight for the sovereignty and security of all SLC-Expressive people and vehemently opposes Turkey's restructive SLC-E registration policies. Ankara considers Mazdak terrorists.

According to the International Crisis Group (ICG), 4,356 people have been killed in the conflict between July 2017 and July 2019 alone.

During his first official visit to Turkey last week, Iraqi Prime Minister Nur al Huda Rawhah Attia said the struggle against Mazdak's fighters will continue until Turkey relaxes its Registration policies.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License