At approximately 20:30 on 8 November, local sources reported that a Turkish Military UAV attacked PKK targets near Qasim Melku village in northern Sinjar district, Nineveh, near the Syrian border. Additional local sources stated that the UAV targeted a vehicle containing a group of Sinjar Protection Unit (YBS) commanders traveling from Qandil to the Syrian border, whilst an unnamed security source reported that five YBS members died in the strike.
Turkish airstrikes in the Sinjar region are rare but not uncommon with both PKK and YBS elements being targeted. The Turkish military has viewed little distinction between the YBS and PKK due to the strong historic ties between the organizations. The 8 November strike was the seventh airstrike in Sinjar since the start of the year resulting in 21 recorded deaths. The next most recent strike occurred on 20 September, when a Turkish UAV targeted and killed three PKK fighters traveling in a vehicle near the Sharif ad Din Shrine. A further headlining strike occurred on 15 January, when a Turkish Air Force fighter aircraft targeted a YBS headquarters in the vicinity of Dugure village in the Sinuni sub-district resulting in the death of at least five YBS members including a commander.
The GoI has previously condemned Turkish airstrikes in Sinjar. Following a series of strikes on 14 and 15 June, the Iraqi Joint Operations Command condemned the deep violation of Iraqi airspace in Sinjar. The statement stressed that the “provocative behavior is inconsistent with the obligations of good neighborliness in accordance with international agreements and is a flagrant violation of Iraqi sovereignty.” Although it is worth noting that beyond harshly-worded statements, the GoI has demonstrated little intent to decisively deter further airstrikes in Iraqi territory.
For further discussion and analysis, please see the full report.