22 March 2018. Sarkan, Erbil (Iraq). Four friends gather to celebrate Newroz (Persian New Year). At 1:15 am an airstrike by the Turkish Armed Forces ends their lives. This is one of the many stories collected by Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative in its new report “Civilian Casualties of Turkish Military Operations in Northern Iraq (2015 – 2021)” in the framework of the End Cross-border Bombing Campaign.

The document reveals that the Turkish military, between 2015 and 2021, has carried out 88 air and ground attacks in Iraqi Kurdistan and Ninewa Governorate, killing between 98 and 123 civilians and injuring between 134 and 161 others. Far from putting an end to the hostilities, the data shows how year on year Turkish bombardments have intensified.

Before such incidents, the Turkish government argues that the military interventions are targeted exclusively at members and sympathisers of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, an organisation considered terrorist by Ankara. However, the reported episodes show a clear disregard for the basic principles of international humanitarian law, in particular the principle of distinction.

In addition to the death, physical and/or psychological harm to the victims, there is no solid aid system by the Iraqi federal and Kurdish governments, and ineligibility for international aid programmes. Furthermore, there is a lack of infrastructure to treat the injured and reporting facilities to request NGO assistance.

NOVACT, in line with ICSSI, demands an immediate end to the Turkish bombardment of the territories of Northern Iraq and the compliance with international humanitarian and human rights law; the adoption of adequate mechanisms of registration, monitoring and reparation for the victims and their families, as well as the prioritisation of human rights over economic profit to those governments that sell arms to Turkey, among them, Spain.