Turkish Drone Strike Leaves Civilian Casualties

Ceiling and concrete walls are all that is left of a grocery store owned by a young Kurdish couple here in this riverside, tourist village in northern Iraq.The store was hit last week by a Turkish drone attack, wounding the owners and their two small children.“At the time of the incident, I immediately lost one of my legs,” said Peyman Talib, the 31-year-old wife, from her hospital bed, with one leg missing from the knee down.“My other leg is also broken. It requires further surgery,” she told VOA.Talib’s husband, Keywan Kawa, 30, and their two children, a 7-year-old girl and a 5-year-old boy, were also injured in the attack.“There are about 20 shrapnel pieces in my body,” Kawa told VOA at the hospital where his wife and children were receiving medical treatment. He wore a medical neck brace.“I have left my son in the hands of God. There is shrapnel stuck in his head and the doctors here say it too risky for them to take it out,” he said.Kurdish rebelsThe drone strike appeared to have chased a Toyota truck carrying several fighters allegedly affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which was left badly damaged.The PKK is an armed group that has engaged in a three-decade-long insurgency for Kurdish autonomy in Turkey. The Kurdish group maintains bases inside the autonomous northern Kurdistan region of Iraq.Kawa said the truck stopped near his store, a man got off and entered the shop to purchase some goods. Then the Turkish strike hit, killing the man and injuring Kawa and his family.FILE - Recruits of the Kurdistan Free Life Party, a splinter group of the PKK, the Kurdistan Workers' Party, take defensive positions near their training camp in the Qandil mountain range, northern Iraq.The Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK), an armed offshoot of the PKK that fights for more political and cultural rights for the Kurds in Iran, said the man was a party member named Rebwar Gholizadeh, better known by his nom de guerre, Ariwan the Revolutionary.The group also said three additional fighters, who apparently stayed behind in the vehicle, were wounded, but it did not list their injuries.Both the PKK and PJAK are designated as terrorist groups by Washington, Ankara and Tehran.Iraqi condemnationA day after the strike, Iraqi President Barham Salih’s office issued a statement, condemning the airstrike and calling on Turkey to stop “its repeated violations of Iraq’s airspace that ...