Daily Archives: July 2, 2020
- Tesla [TSLA] Crushes Deliveries, And Other Thoughts CleanTechnica
- Elon Musk Taunts the SEC Amid Surge in Tesla Stock Price Yahoo Finance
- Tesla shares soar after reporting big beat on second-quarter deliveries CNBC
- Grimes Took A Picture Of Kanye West And Elon Musk, But People Can’t Get Their Eyes Off Grimes’ Reflection BuzzFeed
- ‘It’s Tesla’s world and everyone else is paying rent’: analyst Yahoo Finance
- View Full Coverage on Google News
Ceiling and concrete walls are all that is left of a grocery store owned by a young Kurdish couple here in this riverside, tourist village in northern Iraq.
The store was hit last week by a Turkish drone attack, wounding the owners and their two small children.
“At the time of the incident, I immediately lost one of my legs,” said Peyman Talib, the 31-year-old wife, from her hospital bed, with one leg missing from the knee down.
“My other leg is also broken. It requires further surgery,” she told VOA.
Talib’s husband, Keywan Kawa, 30, and their two children, a 7-year-old girl and a 5-year-old boy, were also injured in the attack.
“There are about 20 shrapnel pieces in my body,” Kawa told VOA at the hospital where his wife and children were receiving medical treatment. He wore a medical neck brace.
“I have left my son in the hands of God. There is shrapnel stuck in his head and the doctors here say it too risky for them to take it out,” he said.
The drone strike appeared to have chased a Toyota truck carrying several fighters allegedly affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which was left badly damaged.
The PKK is an armed group that has engaged in a three-decade-long insurgency for Kurdish autonomy in Turkey. The Kurdish group maintains bases inside the autonomous northern Kurdistan region of Iraq.
Kawa said the truck stopped near his store, a man got off and entered the shop to purchase some goods. Then the Turkish strike hit, killing the man and injuring Kawa and his family.
The Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK), an armed offshoot of the PKK that fights for more political and cultural rights for the Kurds in Iran, said the man was a party member named Rebwar Gholizadeh, better known by his nom de guerre, Ariwan the Revolutionary.
The group also said three additional fighters, who apparently stayed behind in the vehicle, were wounded, but it did not list their injuries.
Both the PKK and PJAK are designated as terrorist groups by Washington, Ankara and Tehran.
A day after the strike, Iraqi President Barham Salih’s office issued a statement, condemning the airstrike and calling on Turkey to stop “its repeated violations of Iraq’s airspace that have resulted in civilian casualties.”
A diplomatic source at the Turkish Foreign Ministry, however, told VOA “these counterterrorism operations are based on our inherent right of self-defense enshrined in the Article 51 of the U.N. Charter.”
Article 51 of the U.N. Charter stipulates that “nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security.”
The Turkish source added that had Iraqi authorities “acted decisively to eliminate PKK from their territories, there would be no need for us to conduct such operations.”
Local officials said other Turkish strikes had killed six civilians in northern Iraq.
Turkey’s Ministry of National Defense, however, said in a statement last week that Turkish airstrikes had targeted “the terrorists” and that “no civilians have or will ever be harmed in its operation.”
It’s rare for Turkey to go after PJAK, despite the group’s close ties to the PKK.
This strike, experts said, indicated close coordination between Turkey and Iran against the Kurdish rebels.
Derailing Kurdish unity talks
Iran and Turkey fear granting local autonomy to their restive Kurdish populations may embolden them to push for outright independence, some experts say.
The two countries, however, share a more immediate common objective in their joint operations against Kurdish rebels: derailing Washington-mediated talks to unite Syria’s Kurdish factions, said Aykan Erdemir, director of the Turkey Program at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a former member of the Turkish parliament.
Erdemir argues that both countries are trying to achieve that goal “by putting pressure on the Kurdistan Regional Government [KRG], which has close ties with the KNC.”
KNC is a Syrian Kurdish party to the negotiations. The other party is the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the political wing of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is a major U.S. partner in the fight against the Islamic State terror group.
Turkey, however, views the SDF as an extension of the PKK.
“Although Ankara and Tehran have sectarian differences and clashing hegemonic ambitions concerning Iraq and the Middle East, time and again they have managed to find win-win arrangements to expand their respective spheres of influence,” Erdemir told VOA.
In addition to airstrikes, Turkey’s operation includes ground troops who have crossed the border into Iraq.
The United States called Wednesday for cooperation among Turkey, Iraq and the KRG against the PKK.
“We regret any innocent loss of life and note the concerns expressed by the government of Iraq,” a U.S. State Department spokesperson told VOA.
“The United States calls on Turkey and Iraq, including the KRG, to work together to defeat the PKK,” the spokesperson said, adding, “The United States is prepared to facilitate and support a coordinated approach on this issue.”
Meanwhile, Kawa, the shop owner, is not certain whether life for him and his family will ever return to normal.
“My wife’s leg has been chopped off. Nothing, not even the weight of this Earth in gold, can bring that back,” he said.
VOA’s State Department correspondent Cindy Saine and VOA’s Ezel Sahinkaya contributed to this report from Washington.
Botswana is investigating a growing number of unexplained deaths of elephants, having confirmed 275 had died, up from 154 two weeks ago, the government said Thursday.
The dead elephants were first spotted months ago in the Okavango Panhandle region, and the authorities say they have since been trying to discover the cause. Poaching has been ruled out as the cause of death, as the carcasses were found intact.
“Three laboratories in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Canada have been identified to process the samples taken from the dead elephants,” the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources, Conservation and Tourism said in a statement.
In a report prepared for the government and seen by Reuters, Elephants Without Borders (EWB), a conservation organization, said that its aerial surveys showed that elephants of all ages appeared to be dying. The group counted 169 dead elephants on May 25, and another 187 on June 14, according to the report.
The directors of EWB did not immediately respond to phone calls or text messages seeking comment on the report.
“Several live elephants that we observed appeared to be weak, lethargic and emaciated. Some elephants appeared disorientated, had difficulty walking, showed signs of partial paralysis or a limp,” the report said.
“One elephant was observed walking in circles, unable to change direction although being encouraged by other herd members.”
The report said urgent action was needed to establish if the deaths were caused by disease or poisoning.
Africa’s overall elephant population is declining due to poaching, but Botswana, home to almost a third of the continent’s elephants, has seen numbers grow to 130,000 from 80,000 in the late 1990s.
However, they are seen as a nuisance by some farmers, whose crops have been destroyed.
President Mokgweetsi Masisi lifted a five-year ban on big game hunting in May last year but the hunting season failed to take off in April as global travel restrictions meant hunters from many coronavirus-hit countries could not enter Botswana.