Turkish military operation forces residents from Christian village in Northern Iraq

Residents of the Christian village of Chalki in Northern Iraq have been forced from their homes by Turkish military operations against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), local news outlet Kurdistan24 reported on Saturday.

Located near the Turkish border in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq’s Duhok province, the village had been repeatedly targeted by Turkish bombardment, Kurdistan24 said.

On Wednesday, Turkish rockets damaged a church in the nearby village of Miska, where a small number of residents had recently returned.

Turkey regularly targets Kurdish forces in Northern Iraq and in April launched the latest in a series of military operations into the region. Dubbed “Operations Claw-Lightning and Claw-Thunderbolt,’’ the incursions have involved both air strikes and the growing deployment of special forces on the ground.

The PKK controls much of the mountainous border region, where the steep terrain has historically provided a haven largely beyond the reach of local authorities.

However, advances in military technology, most notably drones, and Turkey’s increasingly assertive stance in the region have seen more and more areas of Northern Iraq drawn into the conflict zone.

"Our farms dried up, we couldn't irrigate them because of the ongoing fight between Turkey and the PKK," one Chalki resident told Kurdistan24. “Most of our farms were burned because of the constant bombardments."

Of the near 300 casualties between the PKK and the Turkish military since 2019, 254 have taken place in Northern Iraq, according to monitoring by International Crisis Group.

Between 30,000 and 40,000 people, mostly Kurds, are believed to have been killed since the conflict began in 1984.