Violence against the Kurds by Turkey and Iran

Around 35 million Kurds are the world’s largest ethnic group without their own state. Most of them live in a territory divided between Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran and Armenia. November this year was a  time of escalating violence from Turkey and Iran, targeting Syrian and Iraqi Kurdistan.

Turkey has launched Operation Claw Sword against Syrian Kurds, and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in northern Iraq, which it holds responsible for the terrorist attack carried out in Istanbul on 13 November this year. Nearly 200 Kurds were killed in the air strikes, which focused on the mountainous Qandil region on the Iraq-Iran border, and Turkey announced a fourth ground offensive in Syria. Currently, the Turkish authorities effectively control large areas of the border region, which is home to around 4 million people, mainly Kurds. Mazlum Abdi, commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) led by the Kurds, announced his readiness to repel a ground invasion by Turkey.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has also intensified attacks on “main bases and centres of conspiracy, personnel, training and organisation of anti-Iranian separatist groups’ in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish border region, administered by the Kurdistan Regional Government. Iran has blamed the exiled anti-Iranian Kurdish opposition for the ongoing protests in the country sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini. According to Hengaw, a Kurdish human rights organisation, Iranian security forces used heavy machine guns to disperse protesters in the town of Jawanrud.

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