We are here republishing a report prepared by Steve Sweeney, International Editor of the Morning Star and patron of Peace in Kurdistan, entitled “Collusion, Conspiracy, Corruption: An ‘On the Ground’ Report into Turkish War Crimes and Use of Chemical Weapons”.
The full report can be downloaded here: Collusion, Conspiracy, Corruption by Steve Sweeney
Steve Sweeney is a journalist from Britain’s Morning Star newspaper and spent more than a year living in Slemani in Iraqi Kurdistan. He is working on a book titled Bashur: Kurdish resistance movements in Iraqi Kurdistan.
This report was compiled using information gained from numerous meetings and trips across the region over a two year period including the Qandil mountains, Ranya, Kuna Masi, Makhmour refugee camp, Shengal, Dukan, Kalar, Halabja, Duhok, Erbil and the Medya Defence Zones.
Steve was able to meet with local politicians, journalists, medical staff, NGOs, activists and security officials along with military commanders, peshmerga forces and guerrilla fighters along with local residents of the many towns and villages I visited.
He does not claim to be an expert on Kurdish issues however has reported extensively from the ground on the impact of Turkey’s invasion and occupation and the intolerance of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to any form of dissent.
Turkey has bombarded Iraqi Kurdistan’s Duhok province for 10 months to global silence. The main victims of Operation Claw Lightning are civilians.
It has been accused of chemical attacks yet the OPCW and world bodies have so far refused to send a fact-finding team to the area.
Medics, peshmerga, NGOs, Kurdish officials and villagers all state clearly their belief that chemicals have been used.
Testimonies from health officials claim they have been threatened and forced to change medical reports that said they treated patients for exposure to chemicals.
Samples of soil, clothing and hair have been collected from the affected areas, but there has been a refusal to test them for the presence of chemicals.
Turkey’s military operation has seen the construction of many new military bases linked by a network of roads that also lead across the border. The expansion has led to charges of a de facto occupation.
Air strikes have targeted hospitals, civilians and political leaders in Shengal, Qandil and Makhmour Refugee Camp. These are war crimes yet the international community has remained silent.
All three areas operate a system of self-administration that follows the principles of Democratic Confederalism.
The KDP and Turkish intelligence are said to be colluding, with accusations that civilians have been threatened and pressured into becoming spies.
Security officials accuse Turkey and the US of being behind the resurgence of Isis in the region, the former to attack Kurds and the latter as an auxiliary militia against Iranian-backed forces.