Iran and Turkey conduct strikes against Kurdish groups in KRI
Iran and Turkey both conducted military operations against Kurdish groups in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) on Wednesday.
Iran, claiming that Kurdish opposition groups have been supporting the Mahsa Amini protests in Iran, attacked the bases of exiled left-wing Kurdish organizations, while Turkey, as part of its ongoing military campaign in KRI, targeted the fighters affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The United States officials condemned the Iranian attacks.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) of Iran announced on Wednesday that they targeted the fighters of Iranian Kurdistan's Komala Party, Democratic Party (PDKI), Free Life Party of Kurdistan (PJAK) and Kurdistan Freedom Party (PAK). Iran claims these groups are behind the protests that began on 16 September over the death of Mahsa Amini in police custody.
Turkish forces conducted an operation in KRI on Wednesday, allegedly killing two Kurdish fighters. The operation was part of the campaing launched in mid-April, dubbed "Operation Claw-Lock" by Turkish authorities.
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) condemned Iran’s strikes. The Kurdish authorities stated:
"Iran's missile attacks on opposition groups, under any pretext, is an incorrect stance which promotes a misleading interpretation of the course of events (...) We strongly condemn these continuous attacks which result in the death of civilians, and we call for an end to these violations."
Kurdish authorities have only rarely criticized Turkey's military actions, a more recent one after an artillery attack in July that killed nine tourists.
Condemnations by US officials
While a US Central Command (CENTCOM) base near KRI capital Erbil (Hewler) reportedly also came under fire during Iran's attacks, the US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement:
"We strongly condemn Iran's use of ballistic missiles and drone attacks against the Iraqi Kurdistan Region as an unjustified violation of Iraqi sovereignty and territorial integrity."
White House national security advisor Jake Sullivan stated: "Iranian leaders continue to demonstrate flagrant disregard not only for the lives of their own people, but also for their neighbors and the core principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity enshrined in the UN Charter," Sullivan added that Iran cannot blame others for its internal problems.
CENTCOM spokesperson Joe Buccino condemned the "unprovoked attack" and said: "Such indiscriminate attacks threaten innocent civilians and risk the hard-fought stability of the region."
Buccino noted that no US forces were wounded or killed as a result of the strikes and there is no damage to US equipment and the US forces shot down an Iranian drone.