On Friday, June 22, several hundred demonstrators rallied near Mount Qandil in Kurdistan province to denounce recent Turkish airstrikes against Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants. Earlier on Friday, a Turkish airstrike killed at least 15 PKK members in the Gara region. Further related protests are likely throughout Iraqi Kurdistan in the coming days and weeks. Additional cross-border Turkish airstrikes are also likely in the near future.
Turkey has conducted multiple airstrikes against PKK positions in Kurdistan province in recent weeks. Turkish president President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan recently promised to "drain the terror swamp" in the area. Tensions between the Turkish state and Kurdish populations have intensified further since the launch of Operation Olive Branch, a Turkish offensive against Kurdish groups in Syria, in January 2018.
Individuals in northern Iraq are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all protests, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities. The security environment in Iraq remains complex. Although travel is possible in some areas with proper security protocols in place, other areas should be considered strictly off-limits. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to all travel.
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