Local officials in Dohuk and Erbil provinces have reported the death of five civilians on Thursday, June 18, and Friday, June 19, as a result of airstrikes by Turkish forces during operations against Kurdish rebels. Turkey launched the cross-border "Operation Claw-Tiger" on Wednesday, June 17, targeting members of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) based in northern Iraq. The mayor of Childazi (Dohuk province) reported that three civilians were killed when an airstrike hit their vehicles on Friday. Another local mayor reported that a body of a civilian who had been reported missing had also been found on Friday and a shepherd was killed in Bradost district (Erbil province) on Thursday.
Further Turkish operations against Kurdish positions in northern Iraq are likely in the near to medium term. Retaliatory PKK attacks in southern Turkey are a possibility in the near term.
Turkey has faced a Kurdish insurgency since 1984, spearheaded by the PKK, which was renewed in 2015 following the dissolution of a ceasefire. The conflict has left over 40,000 people dead since 1984 and associated violence continues to pose a significant security risk in southeastern Turkey. Turkish forces have reportedly killed dozens of PKK militants in northern Iraq since the beginning of their offensive against Kurdish militants in the region in March 2018.
Individuals in northern Iraq are advised to monitor developments to the situation, remain vigilant for militant activity, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
The security environment in Iraq remains complex. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to all travel.
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