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Exchange of small arms fire between PKK and security forces in Duhok province

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At 18:00 on 5 November, according to media reports citing an unnamed Chamanke Oil Police source and other unnamed sources, PKK fighters using small arms fire targeted a Peshmerga convoy travelling on the road between Shili and Nisra villages in the Chamanke sub-district of Duhok province. Peshmerga forces returned fire, with no casualties reported on either side during what was likely a long-range harassment-style engagement. Conflicting reports identified the target as an Oil Police movement. The conflicting target identifications were difficult to reconcile, with no named official sources discussing this incident.

Similar reporting abnormalities were in effect for the 4 November attack against the Oil Police movement amongst broader significant shortfalls in the cohesion of reporting from official sources for the 4 November events. The reasons behind the virtual absence of reporting from named government and security sources was unclear. It is somewhat possible that KDP-affiliated actors are deceptively reporting continued PKK activity through unofficial means in order to enhance perceptions of elevated PKK-related threats. It is also somewhat possible that reporting shortfalls from official sources reflects the sensitive nature of PKK activity in key areas of interest associated with the oil and gas industry. These reporting challenges, coupled with an overarching propaganda battle, will remain a consideration surrounding these developments.

At face value, the 5 November incident illustrated the potential for continued low-level harassment attacks against KDP security forces in the Chamanke sub-district following the 4 November events. The most likely targets remain security forces travelling in and around established PKK-controlled areas. While client operations are unlikely to be directly targeted, activity in this sector poses the inherent risk of inadvertent exposure. These conditions underscore the importance of being aware of proximity to likely affected areas, and the importance of being prepared to relevant contingencies including route closures.

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