Iraq Military Spox: Arbat airport drone entered airspace from Turkey
Iraq's top military spokesperson on Tuesday condemned a recent drone attack that originated from Turkey, calling it a blatant violation of Iraqi sovereignty and territorial integrity. The assault, which claimed the lives of six people and left others injured, is now under scrutiny as both international and regional forces urge restraint and diplomacy.
On Monday, at exactly 17:00, a drone breached Iraqi airspace from the Turkish border, subsequently launching an attack on Arbat Airport in Sulaimani province, said Yehia Rasool, the military spokesperson for the Iraqi prime minister. The incident was reported on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. This attack on Sulaimani's Arbat airport is now causing an uproar, as international entities like the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) vehemently condemn the attack and call for the cessation of such transgressions onto Iraqi soil.
The impact of the attack was severe, with the Sulaimani-based counter-terrorism directorate announcing the death of three of its members while three others sustained injuries. The force, affiliated with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), was targeted 27 kilometers southeast of Sulaimani. In response to this, the PUK leader Bafel Talabani denounced the attack as a terrorist act, while others echoed the sentiment, labeling it as part of a wider conspiracy aimed at disturbing the peace and stability of the Kurdistan Region.
Furthermore, the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Deputy Prime Minister, Qubad Talabani, implored the Iraqi federal government to take decisive steps in preventing future violations. Sulaimani Governor Haval Abubakir also joined in the condemnation, urging neighboring countries to respect the sovereignty of Iraq and the Kurdistan region.
This is not the first instance of Turkey targeting areas in Sulaimani province. Turkey has been conducting operations with the purported objective of targeting Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) fighters. Earlier this year in April, a drone strike aimed at a convoy carrying US military personnel, including Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) general commander Mazloum Abdi, near Sulaimani International Airport, marked another instance of Turkey's aggressive tactics in the region. Turkey maintains that the SDF and its Kurdish backbone, the People's Protection Units (YPG), are Syrian extensions of the PKK, a group Ankara categorizes as a terrorist organization.
Despite the mounting accusations, the Turkish government has remained silent about the recent incident, not offering any comments or statements. Furthermore, since April 3, Turkey has enforced a flight ban on Sulaimani International Airport, citing increased PKK activity in the region as the reason. The ban, as stated by the Turkish foreign ministry, is set to remain in place until January.
With the growing number of such incidents, it is clear that the situation in the region is escalating, with rising concerns about potential future conflicts. As the international community watches, there is a collective call for calm and diplomacy to prevail over aggression and violation of territorial boundaries.