A Turkish airstrike has killed a senior Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader in Sinjar, a village in northern Iraq where Kurdish forces fought off Islamic State (IS) militants in 2014.
Zaki Shingali, a senior PKK leader who is highly regarded by many in the area, was killed in the strikes, which also left up to a reported dozen people dead.
The PKK leader was leaving a service that commemorated the fourth anniversary of the Islamic State killing sin the village, where the ethnic Yazidi population was under attack. The PKK is credited with creating a security corridor to allow the Yazidis to escape and battled against IS.
His killing was condemned by several Yazidi activists, including a Nobel Peace Prize nominee Nadia Murad, an ethnic Yazidi woman who is a survivor of sexual violence committed by IS. “Mam Zaki was a fine human who came to the rescue of Yazidis,” she said, using a Kurdish term meaning uncle. “For this we are thankful. That said, Sinjar cannot be a place for people to fight their wars.”
US officials distanced themselves from the strikes, with Col Thomas Veale, Director of Public Affairs for CJTF-OIR, telling Kurdistan 24, “We are aware that Turkish aircraft carried out strikes in the Sinjar area which was a unilateral Turkish decision”.
Turkey had “alerted the Coalition of its intention to strike in the Sinjar area, but did not give specific targeting information,” he added.