At approximately 14:00 on 29 May, Turkish aircraft conducted airstrikes against alleged PKK locations in the vicinity of Kafraki village in the Sarsang Block, located south of Amedi town in Dohuk province. One impact was reported approximately 300 meters from a site operated by HKN Energy Ltd. No casualties or significant damage was reported. The Turkish Defense Ministry asserted that Turkish aircraft neutralized two PKK fighters in the Gara region, but further confirmation was unavailable.
This incident occurred amongst elevated Turkish-PKK conflict activity and typical seasonal fighting patterns. Roughly 50 Turkish airstrikes and artillery bombardments were reported in the KR-I in May alone. As seen repeatedly in the past, elevated strike levels correlated with increased risks faced by the local populace. Several strikes in recent weeks caused damages to agricultural lands, residences, power infrastructure, and road infrastructure. Civilian casualties remain infrequent at present, representing some positive semblance of restraint. Some strikes near population centers are assessed to involve intent to disrupt the livelihoods of individuals in perceived PKK support zones. Other factors involve an established PKK practice to gravitate towards populated areas in an attempt to avoid targeting. Effectiveness varies given the bold nature of the Turkish air campaign.
Relevant factors are assessed to have influenced the 29 May airstrike. An established PKK support zone extends along the Gara Mountains, located south of Amedi town. Turkish airstrikes are certainly not uncommon in this sector as a result, with the next most recent airstrike in the Gara region reported on 24 April. More recent examples are possible given established reporting challenges. Strikes tend to affect areas well outside major oilfield operations in the Sarsang Block and adjacent Atrush Block, representing a familiar peripheral threat consideration for IOCs. The 29 May airstrike stood out for occurring within danger-close range of an IOC site, representing the closest impact thus far this year according to some sources.
For further discussion and analysis please see our full report.