At least one woman has been killed and hundreds of people have been forced to flee after Turkish warplanes targeting Kurdish rebels bombed northern Iraq. The woman is the first reported civilian victim since Turkey stepped up attacks against suspected rebel strongholds last month.
At least five guerrillas were also killed according to unconfirmed reports. The shellings near the Kurdish city of Sulaimaniya reportedly forced some 200 families to leave their homes in nearby villages.
The operation was aimed at Kurdish separatists who use northern Iraq as a base for attacks against Turkey.
There are some 100,000 Turkish troops gathered at the Iraqi border, threatening a major operation which many fear could destabilize one of Iraq’s most peaceful regions.
“Saddam’s era was better than now,” says this Kurdish villager. “Saddam’s regime deported us three times, but we didn’t live through the bombings and the destruction which we experience today.”
Turkey denies any civilian targets were hit. Kurdistan officials have condemned the attack describing it a violation of Iraqi sovereignty.