Turkmen Town Under Attack
While the Kurdish Peshmerga’s launch of an offensive to take Sinjar from ISIS is hitting the news, local sources report that on Thursday [12 November 2015], the Peshmerga attacked a group of Turkmen security forces near the Turkmen town of Tuzkhurmatu, approximately 180km north of Baghdad.
According to local sources, the Peshmerga forces attacked a group of patrolling ‘People’s Mobilization Forces’ (al-Hashd al-Shaabi). During the skirmish, at least five Turkmen militants were killed and many were heavily injured. The injured Turkmens were later brought to a local hospital in Tuzkhurmatu, but tensions between the two groups allegedly continued around the hospital, while the clinic itself was under armed attack. During the siege, Kurdish snipers stationed on top of buildings in an area densely populated by civilians, caused further injuries and fear among the civilian population: many people working in the area were trapped inside their offices in fear of indiscriminate shelling by the Kurdish forces. According to a local news agency, a 10-year-old Turkmen child was killed not far from the hospital. Although local authorities have declared a curfew, tensions remains high. The skirmish continued until Thursday night and at least 17 killed and 60 injured, including civilians.
Tuzkhurmatu is a Turkmen town on which both Iraqi and Kurdish authorities have conflicting claims. Since the town was taken back from ISIS in 2014, security has been provided by both Peshmerga and Shia militia forces.