Hengaw; Thursday, June 15, 2023
In recent developments concerning the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) operations in Kurdistan, reports indicate a growing trend of militarization, including helicopter flights over urban centers and at least one recorded armed confrontation.
Hengaw organization for Human Rights has received reports confirming that on the morning of June 15th, 2023, several military helicopters belonging to the IRGC were observed flying over the cities of Sanandaj, Mahabad, and Sarvabad.
Furthermore, in the vicinity of the town of Elwaj , located in the central district of Urmia County, an armed confrontation took place between the stationed IRGC forces and unidentified armed individuals. The specifics of this incident are presently being investigated.
Over the past few weeks, the IRGC has substantially militarized the region by deploying military personnel, artillery and armored vehicles in Kurdistan, alongside the establishment of multiple new forward operating bases in border areas.
Based on Hengaw’s findings, the IRGC artillery units have engaged in targeted operations at least six times over the last ten days. Shahou and Kousalan heights in Paveh and Sarvabad, as well as Boralan in Maku, were subjected to these artillery sheddings. Notably, one member of the IRGC was killed during clashes with the PJAK forces.
Hengaw reiterates the significance of the Kousalan and Shahou region, which, even according to the environmental laws of the Islamic Republic of Iran, holds a designation as a protected area for its wildlife sanctuaries and nature reserves. As such, any military activities or the presence of weaponry within this region are strictly prohibited. The transformation of this ecologically diverse area, housing rare flora and fauna, into a site of armed conflict by the IRGC, can be perceived as a prominent manifestation of ecoterrorism.