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Iraq summons Turkish envoy to protest deadly airstrike in Kurdistan region

Iraq’s Foreign Ministry has summoned the Turkish ambassador to Baghdad to protest Ankara’s latest deadly aerial raid on a refugee camp in the Arab country’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.

The ministry said in a statement on Thursday that Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohamed Ali al-Hakim called in the envoy and handed him a letter of protest over “Turkish violations of Iraqi sovereignty”. 

The ministry spokesman, Ahmed al-Sahaf, also said that the Turkish airstrike was unacceptable and violated its sovereignty and the security of its citizens. 

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemns in the strongest possible terms the attack carried out by the Turkish side, which resulted in loss of life and property,” he said

The ministry demanded an end to the bombing of Iraqi areas, respect for sovereignty of Iraq, and cooperation to ensure border security.

The media office of the Iraqi Joint Operations Command (JOC) earlier said that its air defense detected a Turkish drone breaching the Iraqi airspace and firing a rocket on Maxmur refugee camp near the town of Makhmour on Wednesday. At least three people, including two women, were killed in the raid.

Prominent Iraqi politician Ammar al-Hakim, the Leader of Iraq’s National Wisdom Movement, also denounced the airstrike and said the violation of Iraqi sovereignty is “unjustifiable.”

Kate’ al-Rikabi, a member of the parliamentary Security and Defense Committee, urged the Baghdad the government to file a complaint with the UN Security Council over the aggression.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) condemned the airstrike on the refugee camp as a breach of Iraq’s sovereignty, saying such attacks threatens peace and stability in the region.

The statement called on the Iraqi government to protect the county’s sovereignty and reconsider trade exchanges with Turkey. 

It also called on the federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to play their part in finding peaceful solutions to prevent recurrence of such attacks.

Turkey occasionally attacks northern Iraq, saying it targets positions of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group.

PKK militants regularly clash with Turkish forces in the Kurdish-dominated southeast of Turkey which borders northern Iraq.

Turkish ground and air forces have also been carrying out operations in neighboring Syria against militants of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), considered by Ankara a terrorist organization and an extension of the PKK.

The YPG makes up the bulk of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a US-backed coalition of militants who control some chunks of land in northern Syria.

The Syrian government has likewise called on Ankara to end its military intervention in the neighboring Arab country.