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Pro-Iranian factions and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) continue to launch attacks on Turkish forces in northern Iraq in response to the July 20 Turkish strikes on Zakho district in the province of Duhok. The strikes, which targeted a number of tourist resorts, claimed the lives of nine civilians, including a one-year-old child.
The attacks began on July 22, when a group calling itself Saraya Awliya al-Dam launched two suicide drones at a base of the Turkish military near Bamerne town in Duhok. The two drones were copies of Iran’s Ababil-2.
On the same day, the so-called Islamic Resistance – Iraq Ahrar Brigades fired a salvo of Grad 122 mm rocket at a large Turkish military base located near the town of Zaylkan in Bashiqa district in the province of Nineveh.
On July 24, a second attack with Grad rockets targeted Zaylkan base. The attack was also carried out by the pro-Iranian Islamic Resistance – Iraq Ahrar Brigades.
Late on July 26, a shadowy group calling itself the Ababil Brigades launched a suicide drone at a Turkish military base located in the area of Barukhi and Siri in Duhok. The drone was a downgraded version of Iran’s Shahed-136.
Early on July 27, a third attack with Grad rockets targeted the Turkish military base in Zaylkan. At around the same time, a salvo of four 107 mm rockets, most likely Iranian-made Fadjr-1, targeted the Turkish consulate in the city of Mosul. No group has claimed responsibility for the two attacks, so far. However, Iraqi sources speculated that they were carried out by pro-Iranian factions.
Turkey acknowledged losing a service member and four security officers in northern Iraq on July 25, and another service member on July 27. Some of casualties were reportedly killed in attacks by the PKK, while the rest were apparently killed in recent rocket and drone attacks by pro-Iranian factions.
The new casualties brought to 42 the number of Turkish personnel killed in Iraq since mid-April, when Ankara launched Operation Claw-Lock, against PKK cells in the Kurdistan Region.
The Iraqi Federal Government is currently working with the Kurdistan Region Government to take steps against Turkey’s military operations on Iraqi territory. Baghdad has already asked Ankara to apologize for the deadly strikes on Zakho as well as to withdraw its troops from its northern region.
Despite its mounting losses and the pressure from Iraq, Turkey will not likely halt Operation Claw-Lock. Ankara appears to be planning to ignore Baghdad’s demands and go on with its operation against the PKK. This could further provoke pro-Iranian factions, who could step up their attacks on Turkey’s bases and diplomatic missions in Iraq.