Zharo Baxtiar and his family had taken a day trip to Kuna Masi, a village in the Kurdish province of Sulaymaniyah, last Thursday, when their visit was abruptly cut short by a deafening Turkish missile strike into the water near the children.
Almost 100 people were at the riverbank that day, said Baxtiar. Sulaymaniyah is located in the Kurdistan’s autonomous region in northern parts of Iraq. Footage recorded by his sister-in-law show children paddling in the water with their parents joyfully encouraging them, speaking in the Kurdish dialect Sorani. Seconds later, a Turkish missile strike lands nearby.
“At the moment of impact, it was as if it was raining rocks and pieces of glass,” France 24 quotes Baxtiar. “We saw several injured people, including the woman who ran the shop that was hit directly by the missile. She was covered with blood. We later saw on the news that her husband and three children were also injured in the blast.”
Their video has since circulated on Twitter with over a million views.
The strikes were part of an ongoing Turkish offensive against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). The offensive, named ‘Operation Eagle Claw’ has seen hundreds of strikes since June 15.
"In the name of the hunting down members of the Kurdistan Workers Party they [the Turkish government] targeted civilians in the Kuna Masi resort,” said Babakir Faqe, the spokesperson for the ministry of the armed forces of Iraqi Kurdistan (Peshmerga).
The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) meanwhile demanded an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council.
“A legal committee needs to be set up to register complaints against Turkey in international courts,” a statement said.