International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that by May 8, 2021, two Christian villages in Iraq’s Dohuk Province were reportedly abandoned because of Turkish bombardments. Kesta village was completely evacuated by May 3, with several residents fleeing to nearby Chalke village. However, Chalke village was then evacuated except for one individual by May 8.
Turkish bombardments increased in the area on April 23, allowing Turkey to establish new military bases. The timing of the operation was deliberately chosen to coincide with the commemoration anniversary of Turkey’s Ottoman-era genocide against Christians. Reports also indicate that Turkey has deployed chemical weapons three times in the area since their military operation began. Turkey claims that they are conducting national security operations against the PKK terrorist group within Iraq’s borders.
Raw video footage of the evacuation shows families leaving as the bombardment continues in the background. They are traveling through a rural, mountainous region over difficult roads and attempting to save their farming livelihood in the process. Iraqi media has also aired footage showing airstrike damage.
The lone man who refused to leave Chalke village told Rudaw, “I have not abandoned my house and will not until I die. I sleep in my house, disregarding the constant bombardment”.
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