Karatepe, 112 km northeast of the city of Baquba in the province of Diyala, has a mixed population of Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen majority. It is also located within the disputed areas. It suffers from the same suffering as other Turkmen cities, neglected by both central and regional government, and in the middle of the conflict by both central government and the regional government. Although the city is outside the borders of the Kurdistan region which was decided upon on 2003, it is officially under the control of the Peshmerga forces which failed (or did not intend) to protect the Turkmen as in the rest of the Turkmen regions of Kerkuk, Salah al-Din and Mosul.
Mortars and Katyusha rockets from nearby villages and towns, especially from the south and west, where the Hamrin Mountains and Zarjeh villages located and which are still embracing Daesh, are constantly targeting the city of Karatepe. According to a local source (his name preferred not to be mentioned), Daesh’s leaders in Diyala who were at Hawija has came from some parts of the province of Salah al-Din, which is still not entirely under the control of the state. They took the mountains of Hamrin as a location to attack the city of Karatepe from time to time. “The same source,” mentioned “a week after a failed attempt” of a young man form a villages near Karatepe, riding a bicycle was trying to blow himself up on the members of police personnel in the middle of the city. The gangs targeted the city on Saturday night 24 June 2017 with Katyusha rockets that led to the death of a 20-year-old Turkmen woman and a six-year-old child and the wounding of others with the demolition and damage of many houses. This incident was also confirmed by the Iraqi agencies.
According to the same source, “A while ago, we, the people of the city, collected donations to buy night glasses and equipment for Al hashid Al shabi (local people forces) because of their limited capabilities of the existing local force, a regiment of the Al hashid Al shabi holding the security file in the south of the city with the army in the east, while Kurdish Peshmerga forces control the Northeast of the city. “.
A local source said that the Governor of Diyala visited the city to observe the situation, and confirmed in his statement that “The local security forces have failed to provide protection to civilians and soon we will announce a new security plan to free the areas of the city and secure the area,”
The MP Furat al-Tamimi, who is from Diyala province told Alsumaria News this morning that “the Turkmen are exposed to a programmed targeting in the area of Karatepe, stressing that they are the indigenous people of the city and there is an attempt to displace them and create a demographic change in the city, warning of continuous waves of displacement in the city because of continuous targeting. He asked the Security forces to protect the unarmed civilians, especially the Turkmen as the biggest target of the terrorists in the city. He stressed that the city suffers from government’s neglecting services and security and the constant targeting from Daesh.
The local and central governments must take full responsibility for the protection of the Turkmen in this city and withdraw the security file from the hands of the Peshmerga forces, which failed to protect unarmed civilians from the Turkmens for 14 years. They are only for the protection of the Kurdish areas, and it is very necessary to support the local forces of the Turkmen and increase their numbers and equip them to protect themselves.
Turkmen Rescue Foundation
Human Rights Section
28 June 2017
Translated by: gülşen beyatli