The Guardian August 30, 2000


Kurds bombed by Turkish, US planes

"We were grazing our animals in the summer pastures. Suddenly the planes 
flew over, then they flew back again and there were explosions everywhere. 
I don't know what happened then, but everything was covered in blood", said 
one of the women victims of the bombing.

The Iraqi Kurdish satellite television channel, Kurdistan TV, showed the 
wounded, several of them small children, lying on hospital beds in the 
regional capital of Irbil, their heads and limbs in bandages and slings.

It is reminiscent of the British bombing of herdsmen and their families 
shown recently SBS in John Pilger's film Paying the Price  Killing the 
Children of Iraq. The pilots of the planes, trained in savagery, 
practice their deadly art on defenceless women, children, and in these 
cases, their animals.

Two days before the attack in Kurdistan, planes had bombed a storehouse 
containing food supplied under the oil-for-food program in the Iraqi town 
of Samawa which is 175 kms south of Baghdad.

A Pentagon spokesperson claimed the target was a "government warehouse" and 
claimed "precision bombing" was used to minimise "collateral damage". 
However, a Reuters photographer at the scene said there were no Iraqi 
military units in the area.

The Iraqi Trade Minister described the raid as "another criminal act 
against a facility providing food and services to the people of the area."

In the 20 months to August this year, the US and UK aircraft have flown a 
total of 23,407 sorties over Iraq. Of that total, 18,749 were from bases in 
Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and 4,658 were from Turkish bases.

The raids by Turkish planes into Kurdish Iraq are coordinated by American 
AWACs. On one day, August 15, 38 Kurdish civilians, including children were 
killed in the air raid near Irbil while 40 people were injured.

The mass media which claims to be so concerned about the loss of 118 
Russian sailors aboard the submarine Kursk are totally silent about 
the Turkish, US and British raids over Iraq and the consequent loss of 
Kurdish and Iraqi lives.

While the Turkish neo-fascist government threatens and bombs its 
neighbours, tens of thousands of Turkish workers who are fighting 
courageously against the oppression of the Turkish Government are being 
jailed, tortured and killed.

This year, arbitrary arrests have increased. Police are arresting the 
relatives and friends of those already jailed.

Turkey is a member of NATO and is applying to join the European Union.

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