Armed drones fly incessantly over Makhmour Camp in Northern Iraq - refugees
Residents of a refugee camp in northern Iraq deplored the continuous drone attacks over the site and lamented for their children and families living under fear and doubt.
About 12,000 Kurdish refugees who fled persecution from Turkey during the 90s live in Makhmour Camp, located 60 km southwest of Erbil and currently held by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a Kurdish militant group that has fought Turkey for four decades and was designated as a terrorist organization by the US and the EU.
Camp officials called upon the UN and human rights organizations to raise their voices after a Turkish drone attacked the camp causing material damage on Tuesday.
Last year, several senior PKK officials in the camp were struck by Turkey, which accuses the organization of using the camp as a safe haven in its insurgency.
Turkey denies targeting civilian areas in the camp.
“The daily presence of armed drones has a negative effect on the psyche of our people. 15 people have been killed by air strikes in the camp since 2017” the camp residents said.
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu last year said that clearing the refugee camp of militants was the Iraqi government's responsibility, but that Turkey would do it alone if it has to.
The Iraqi government lost control of Makhmour Camp when the Islamic State attacked Iraq and took control of large swaths of territory in the region. Kurdish militants took charge of the camp when they defeated ISIS.
In February, Iraqi government was preparing to retake full control of Makhmour Camp, an Iraqi security advisor said.