Refugee camp in Iraqi Kurdistan besieged by Iraqi troops
A refugee camp in Iraqi Kurdistan was besieged on Saturday by Iraqi troops in a move to install wire fences and guard towers around the camp, Firat News Agency (ANF) reported.
Dozens of armored vehicles and construction equipment have taken part in the Iraqi military's operation, ANF said.
The Makhmour refugee camp, which receives support from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), is 60 km southwest of Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), and houses over 12,000 Kurdish refugees.
The camp's residents are members of families who were forced to leave their villages in the Kurdish-majority provinces of Turkey in the 1990s, when military operations against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) intensified and targeted not only Kurdish fighters but also entire rural settlements, the residents of which were accused of providing support for the fighters.
Turkish authorities claim that the Makhmour camp is a stronghold for the PKK. The camp has been hit several times by Turkish airstrikes in recent years. One person was killed by a Turkish drone strike in late August last year, and one in May.
SON DAKİKA— Rojnews Türkçe (@rojnewstrservis) May 20, 2023
Irak Ordusu Mexmur Kampı sakinlerine ateş açtı!
Irak Ordusu, Mexmur halkına ateş açtı. Halkın taşlarla karşılık vermesi üzerine ordu güçleri geri adım atmak zorunda kaldı.
Hundreds of camp residents gathered on Saturday to protest and block Iraqi troops, and one was injured as the troops opened fire, Roj News reported. The protesters responded by throwing stones at the troops.
Filiz Budak, the co-chair of the Makhmour People's Assembly said after a meeting with Iraqi officials that they have been unable to reach an understanding and that the officials are intent on installing guard towers.
"We will not budge. We will not surrender our will to the peshmerga that they plan to deploy around the camp," she said.