Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

PKK fighters force Iraqi border families to flee

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has forced around 120 Iraqi families to leave their homes near the Iraqi-Turkish border, according to the Kurdistan Campaign to Help Victims of War, an NGO, and local residents, IRIN reported Monday.

“Militants broke into our home and told us to leave within an hour. They were armed and we couldn’t resist,” said Firamerz Adar, 48, from Deshtetek village, near the border. “One of my neighbors’ who complained was beaten and then forced to leave with his 11 family members.”

“They said we could return to our homes when the fighting with Turkish forces ended. We took a few things with us and started to walk south, trying to find a vehicle that could take us to a safer place,” Adar added.

Sergevaz Lafaw, a Kurdish rebel commander of the PKK, told IRIN: “Some families have been forced out of their homes because their residences are of strategic importance and also for their own safety as shells could fall on their homes and hurt their loved ones.”

Since mid-October, nearly 7,000 people have fled their homes in areas near the border, Kalif Dirar, a senior official in the Kurdistan Regional Government said. Dirar added that tensions were on the rise despite the Iraqi government’s efforts to prevent a major offensive at the border that could lead to a humanitarian crisis.

“Our hospitals aren’t prepared for a major offensive. We hope NGOs and the government will provide enough supplies to prevent chaos at the health centre, which until now has been functioning well in Kurdistan,” said Ahmed Behi from Zakho General Hospital.

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