Oldest Christian Village Evacuated Amid Turkish Invasion in Barwari Bala Region

02-07-2024 03:36
The church of Miska village in the Barwari Bala region, before being destroyed by Turkish bombing

Peregraf- Duhok

The Turkish invasion has led to the evacuation of the oldest Christian village in the Barwari Bala region, marking the third village in the area to be evacuated in the past 10 days.

The ongoing Turkish invasion, under the pretext of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) conflict, has resulted in continuous bombings that devastated a significant portion of the fields and gardens belonging to villagers in the Barwari Bala region of Duhok Province, causing extensive damage to their homes as well.

On Monday, July 1, 2024, the village of Miska in the Barwari Bala region, located in the sub-district of Kani Masi within Amedi district, was evacuated. The village, home to 11 households, had its houses and gardens extensively burned amid continued conflict between Turkey and the PKK, exacerbated by the arrival of additional Turkish forces in the region.

Adib Majid, the headman of Miska village, informed Peregraf that Miska is the oldest village in the Barwari Bala region, where people have lived for over a century.

"The village had 11 families, all Christians except for one Muslim family. They were all gardeners," stated the village headman.

According to the village headman, residents of Miska village were occupied with vineyards, apple orchards, and summer crops. He reported that "60 to 70 orchards of various fruits were burned, and some houses were damaged or destroyed."

Adib Majid told Peregraf, "Even the Christian churches have been damaged and are no longer usable for worship, all due to the ongoing conflict between Turkey and the PKK, compounded by the arrival of Turkish forces in the area."

According to Adib Majid, in the past 10 days alone, "the villages of Miska, Shelaza, and Dargale have been evacuated." Over the past decade, he added, "about 20 villages in Barwari Bala have been evacuated."

Salih Hamdi Head of Sub-district Kani Masi in Amedi district declined to comment on military matters and the ongoing conflict between the PKK and Turkey. "I will not provide comments on the military issue and the ongoing fighting between the PKK and Turkey," he told Peregraf.

Turkey has more than a dozen military bases in the Kurdistan Region, with thousands of troops deployed more than 35 kilometers inside Iraqi territory. Some of the bases have been in place since the civil war between the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) in the 1990s. Turkey’s continued military operations have led locals to abandon their villages, fields, and grazing areas.