Artillery attacks during military operation in Lice

For days, the Turkish army has been conducting an operation against suspected guerrilla units in the Lice district of Amed. In addition to forest destructions, there are intensive and coordinated air and ground attacks.

Repeated operations by the Turkish army have been taking place for weeks in the Lice district of Amed (Diyarbakir). The latest operation was launched last Wednesday and is focused on the rural neighbrhoods of Akçabudak (Zengesor) and Kılıçlı (Mizak) in the northeast of the district. According to the Mezopotamya News Agency (MA), coordinated air and ground attacks have been taking place in the area of operations for the past two days. The area of Kılıçlı in particular has come under intense fire from unmanned combat drones.

The operation in Lice involves land forces and the Turkish Air Force as well as the so-called village guards. On Thursday, MA sources observed the transfer of seven vehicles carrying the paramilitaries to the operation area, coming from the Sason district in neighboring Batman province. The transfer of the village guards to Lice reportedly took place in school buses. They are primarily deployed for systematic forest destruction in Lice to capture suspected guerrilla areas. According to MA, sporadic exchanges of fire are being heard from the operation area.

What are village guards?

Village guards are paramilitary units used in Kurdistan against guerrillas and anti-government Kurds. They consist to a considerable extent of tribal leaders, large landowners, families and individuals who have often been working with the state for decades and attempt to advocate for the interests of the state in Kurdistan. Some of the village guards join this system voluntarily; others are threatened with murder, arrest, and expulsion and must become village guards under pressure. Many Kurds who have refused to collaborate have either had to flee or bow to pressure from the military and the village guards. Thousands of Kurdish villages where the village guard system was rejected were burned and razed to the ground by the state in the 1990s.