One fine day in May, Yohanna Khushfa gathered his 200 sheep and took off, along with 120 other villagers in Iraqi Kurdistan, fearful of the Turkish drones hunting Kurdish separatists.
“Shrapnel blew out our windows and furniture,” the mayor of Jelki, a village in the Al-Amadiya area, told AFP.
“We were afraid for our lives and we left,” said the 71-year-old, reached by telephone from a rugged strip near the Turkish border.
Since Turkey launched a new military campaign in northern Iraq on April 23, three civilians have been killed and four wounded.
Amongst those, according to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was a senior official from Turkey’s outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
In the face of Turkey’s actions, some 1,500 people from 300 families have fled their villages, according to Iraq’s ministry for the displaced.
Others already left long ago, among them Berqi Islam, who fled in 2017 from Shiladzi, an area near the border where his brother was killed in Turkish bombing.