Turkey sends condolences for killed Kurdish Peshmerga fighters

Binali Yildirim and Masoud Barzani in Zerdek camp with military officials, January 2017.

Turkey’s Prime Minister has conveyed his condolences to Kurdistan Regional Government President for the death of five peshmerga in Turkish airstrikes.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim spoke to KRG President Masoud Barzani on the telephone and sent his condolences on Wednesday after airstrikes killed five Kurdish fighters in Shingal, northern Iraq early Tuesday morning.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had earlier said his military had informed the US, Russia and KRG of the strikes.

“5 or 6 peshmerga were killed in the attack; this was unfortunate and happened despite us informing them, so it was upsetting to us.”

The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), led by Masoud Barzani, accused PKK presence in Shingal for the airstrikes and asked the group to leave. Five other main parties have condemned the Turkish government saying the strikes “violated the Kurdistan Region’s sovereignty” and called on the UN to condemn the attack.

At least 20 Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) members were also killed in concurrent airstrikes across the border in northeastern Syria. Turkey has said it targeted groups affiliated to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in both areas to prevent the transport of explosives and munitions into Turkey, the Guardian reported.

Kurdish groups have rejected the claim saying Ankara was using the PKK as a pretext to attack Kurdish gains and prevent the war against the Islamic State group in Syria, which is being led by the YPG.