Iraq and Syria Attacks Blamed on Turkey Rattle Region, Raise U.S. Concerns-Report
Shafaq News / Recent attacks in northern Iraq and Syria have sparked outrage in both countries as well as neighboring nations and have raised concerns for the United States, whose NATO ally, Turkey, has been named as a culprit by the targeted states.
Funerals were held across Iraq on Thursday after nine tourists were killed a day earlier in what Iraqi officials have described as a Turkish artillery attack on a resort in the northern village of Zakho, located in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region. Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, who received the bodies of the dead in a ceremony, announced a national day of mourning as hundreds took to the street in protest.
In a statement released shortly after the attack, Kadhimi condemned the "brutal attack," which he said "underscores the fact that Turkey ignored Iraq's continuous demands to refrain from military violations against Iraqi territory and the lives of its people."
The Iraqi premier also said that "Iraq reserves its full right to respond to these attacks and will take all necessary measures to protect its people and hold the aggressors accountable for the ongoing escalation."
But as Kadhimi chaired emergency meetings and prepared to submit an official complaint to the United Nations Security Council, the Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a statement formally denying any role in the strike and instead said the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), an outlawed group with which Turkish capital Ankara has been at war for three decades, was responsible.
Reached for comment, Turkey's embassy in Washington referred Newsweek to the statement, which also said that "Türkiye is against all kinds of attacks targeting civilians" and "carries out its fight against terrorism in accordance with international law, with utmost sensitivity to the protection of civilians, civilian infrastructure, historical and cultural property and the environment."
"Türkiye is ready to take all steps to reveal the truth," the statement said. "We invite Iraqi government officials not to make statements under the influence of the rhetoric and propaganda of the treacherous terrorist organization and to cooperate in bringing the real perpetrators of this tragic incident into light."
The U.S., which is allied with Turkey and is a security partner of Iraq, did not identify a culprit but expressed support for Iraq's sovereignty as well as concern over the recent course of events.
Reached for comment, the State Department referred Newsweek to spokesperson Ned Price, who on Wednesday reaffirmed with reporters the U.S. position "that military action in Iraq should respect Iraqi sovereignty and territorial integrity, and we express our condolences to the families of the victims of today's actions."
"We emphasize the importance of ensuring civilians are protected," he added, "and we will continue to monitor the situation closely as additional information emerges."
Iran also issued a condemnation of the attack without identifying who was responsible in remarks conveyed to reporters by Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani and directly to Iraqi Foreign Minister Fouad Hussein by his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.