Family wounded and boy killed during ongoing Iranian shelling


The Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported today that a two-year-old Kurdish boy was killed and his parents seriously wounded after continued Iranian bombardment of the Kurdistan region in the northernmost part of Iraq. The attack and tragedy was confirmed by the mayor of the town of Zarawa, located just 100 miles north of the city of Sulaymaniya.

In a statement released to the AFP, the mayor of Zarawa, Azad Wassu said, “Iranian artillery bombarded border villages on Tuesday evening killing a child and wounding his parents.”

Since last October, Iran and Turkey have extensively bombed border regions in Iraqi Kurdistan under the pretext of pursuing rebel fighters of PKK and PJAK.  However, according to officials in the region, much of the attacks have targeted villages and towns where there are no rebel fighters.

Iranian and Turkish shelling against the Kurdistan region has been ongoing since at least October of 2007.  Alliance for Kurdish Rights reported in May 2008 that over 200 families had been displaced as a result of the attacks on the villages in the region, (See the Report).  A month after the report was compiled, two members of Iraqi Parliament announced in a press conference that at least 450 families had been displaced over the two years of airstrikes against the region by the Iranian and Turkish militaries, (See the Report).

The AFP has reported that at least 20 different villages in the region have been destroyed as a result of Iranian airstrikes.  Voices of Iraq named “Rizka [Rezga], Mardo, Shinawa, Sorkola, Sordi, Arka, Basta, and Toutmi” as the most frequently hit villages in the region.

According to Wassu, the most recent attack targeted the villages of “Rez[g]a, Mara and Duwu,” with attacks lasting “nearly two hours”.

The total numbers of wounded and killed in the continued airstrikes are unknown. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), despite calling for U.N. intervention on more than one occassion, has also played a counterproductive role by disallowing journalists and other groups to enter the region after claiming that the media had been “aggravating the crisis with Turkey”.

Unfortunately, there is no evidence that the media blockade has reduced the number of airstrikes against the region.  Furthermore, the blockade has allowed Turkey and Iran to carry out their operations with little accountability.

The names of the family members affected by the recent bombing in the Zarawa area were not released.

Alliance for Kurdish Rights (AKR).