NEWS CENTER – The Coalition Against Chemical Weapons in Kurdistan (CACWK) shared it report on the use of chemical weapons by the turkish state against the guerrillas and the people of Kurdistan. Steve Sweeney, International Editor for the Morning Star newspaper, member of the Coalition Against Chemical Weapons in Kurdistan and patron of Peace in Kurdistan initiative conducted a extensive research on the theme. The report is based on Steve’s extensive on-the-ground reporting from the region of South Kurdistan during Turkey’s invasion of northern Iraq in the course of their war against the PKK, and details the data and interviews he has collected on Turkey’s alleged use of chemical weapons in the region.
This report is now also available as a printed booklet; As you can download: Turkey-War-Report-Sweeney-V31
Most taken in December 2021 with an interpreter.
“Please Steve, thank you so much for coming. It is important the world hears our story. We are very frightened. We are being killed and attacked every day. If they find you here they will kill you. And if they know we have spoken to you they will kill us.”
Who will kill you? Who do you mean?
“Barazani. He is helping Turkey. PDK [Kurdistan Democratic Party] will kill us or Turkey will kill us. They are the same. There are many intelligence services here. They sometimes stay in the bases together.”
Can you tell me what has happened since April?
“Turkey has been dropping bombs on our villages and on our land every day. They [soldiers] come and threaten us. They say we are PKK and that we are helping guerrilla. But they are not here. There are no PKK in the village.
I am a teacher but now most of the people here have left. There are only a few of us that stayed. Most went to Duhok with family. My neighbours went to Slemani. But we could not leave. “It is like a living hell. The bombs start at night time and shooting. But it happens in the day time too. I was affected by gas. It came in the field after Turkey bombed us.”
What kind of bombing, from a plane or drone?
“No, it was from the ground. I don’t know what it was. But afterwards I could not breathe. My lungs felt like fire. I am still coughing because of it today.”
When did this happen?
“I remember it was August and I had been collecting some things [?] from the field smoke and a smell.”
What do you think it was?
“I know Turkey is using chemical substances. They are doing this because they want to kill the Kurdish people. They want to Anfal us [term used to describe martyrs from Saddam Hussein’s Arabisation campaign in the 1980s].”
“Look at my arms. They are red and still burning. Touch them, it is ok. Can you feel? [his arms felt very warm and appeared to emanate heat.] This was after a Turkish attack on the village. There were many bombs and explosions. Many homes were damaged and our land has many problems for animals. They killed livestock too. They are like Saddam Hussein. He was killing us and now Turkey and Barzani is too. He is jash [insult directed at Kurds who collaborate]”
“I came outside because I was worrying about my family. I wanted them to come inside. They were safe in my brother’s house but I did not know this. Turkish soldiers said they would treat us like terrorists if they saw us. We are not allowed to go to our own fields. But how can we survive? How can they tell us this. It is our land but they use it for the army.”
“There was a big bang and a light that hurt my eyes. I was on the floor and coughing. I could not breathe and was burning so much. I came to home and put cold water but it did not work. I went to medical centre and they gave me cream but could not put bandages on it because it was too hot. They said it was bad burns.”
What do you think it was?
“I do not know, but it was like a chemical attack. We know about this very well in here. We have been gassed many times. It was like those days again. Everyone is scared.”
What did the doctors say?
“I was a peshmerga and we are taught about chemical attacks in our training. I believe it was this. The doctors were not sure and were afraid because of PDK. They are telling people to be quiet about the attacks.”
In what way? Are they threatening people?
“Yes. They say that bad things will happen if we speak and that nobody will believe us. It is not just PDK, the whole world is against us [Kurdish people]. We are just village people. We want to live in peace. We are not terrorists. Why do they do this to us? Thank you for hearing us. But please tell the world what is happening to Kurdish people.”
“Thank you Steve. This is an important thing because nobody is telling the truth. We have liars Rudaw and K24. They are Barzani belonging [controlled by the ruling family]. I have not been exposed to it myself but my husband has. He was too afraid to come today but knows that I came here and was happy. He is still sick for months now. He has trouble breathing and cannot move too far. He stays resting for a long time. Before he would work in the field for hours. He is a strong man. Now he is sad and cries a lot. The children lost their father, it is like this. Sometimes he talks to me but he is nervous. He was in the field collecting some wood for us when Turkey shot something. When he came back he could not see. His eyes hurted and were watering and he needed drink. We saw the Mukhtar and he told us that PDK says we can do nothing. They said it is up to Iraq [federal government] but this is not true. Turkey is in our home, they are invading us.”