The military wing of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) announced on Tuesday that it has new visual recordings of Turkish army using chemical weapons in northern Iraq (South Kurdistan).
The PKK’s People’s Defence Forces (HPG) said in a statement that the new evidence showed 11 Kurdish fighters who had lost their lives as a result of chemical weapons used by the Turkish army on November 5.
“Though at the moment we do not think it is appropriate to share those footages with the general public, we stress that we can provide them to institutions that can conduct investigations and confirm the Turkish state’s war crimes,” the HPG said.
The military group said that those 11 fighters had been kept in Şêladize (Sheladiz) district in southern Kurdistan, where anyone who wanted to conduct an inquiry could easily reach, adding that they will do everything possible under the circumstances to help those intending to conduct investigations.
A footage shared by the HPG in October showed a group of Turkish soldiers at the mouth of a cave with a device that the military group claimed to be used for delivering chemical weapons. The next part of the video demonstrated a female Kurdish fighter suffering first from memory loss, then uncontrollable behaviour, before losing consciousness, symptoms associated to chemical weapon exposure.
The footage shared by the HGP mobilised human rights activists to urge international organisations, particularly the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), to launch independent inquiries into to the allegations, saying that Turkey has potentially been committing war crimes by violating the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention.
Turkey has repeatedly denied using chemical weapons in northern Iraq. However, a delegation of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), which represents thousands of doctors and advocates against armed violence, said in a report published following a September mission into northern Iraq that it discovered enough evidence to warrant further investigation on allegations.