A composite image of a woman holding a camera, a man standing in a field, and the remains of a car after it was hit by a strike.
Çira TV reporters Mydia Hussen and Murad Mirza were injured along with their driver when a strike hit their car in the northern Nineveh Governorate in Iraq on July 8, 2024. (Photos: Çira TV; Screenshot: Çira TV/YouTube)

Strike injures 2 Iraqi Kurdish reporters in Sinjar

UPDATE: Çira TV reporter Murad Mirza died on July 11 of injuries sustained in the drone strike. He was buried on July 12 in the Girê Gewir Cemetery, according to his outlet

Sulaymaniyah, Iraq, July 10, 2024—The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Turkish and Iraqi authorities to investigate after a suspected Turkish strike injured two Iraqi Kurdish reporters.

The two Çira TV reporters—Mydia Hussen and Murad Mirza—were with their driver Khalaf Khdir returning from covering the tenth anniversary of an ISIS attack on the southern village Tal al-Qasab, according to Argash Shingali, a board member of Germany-based satellite broadcaster Çira TV. Shingali said “the car lacked any media markings.” 

The strike hit the journalists’ car in Sinjar (Shingal) District in northern Iraq on Monday, July 8, according to Shingali and Mehvan Hinji, head of Êzidxan Asayish forces, which is affiliated with the Shingal Resistance Units (YBS), a Yazidi militia with ties to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Turkey, the U.S., and the European Union have designated the PKK as a terrorist organization, and Iraq’s National Security Council banned the group earlier this year.

A Monday statement by Cira TV and a report by pro-PKK media outlet Rojnews said the strike was carried out by Turkish forces, a claim repeated by Kurdistan Region’s Directorate General of Counter Terrorism in a Monday press release. Shingali told CPJ that the outlets confirmed it was a Turkish strike after speaking to Êzidxan Asayish forces.

Hinji told CPJ via messaging apps that they were still investigating whether the strike originated from Turkish forces.

Both reporters are currently being treated for head injuries at Sinjar Hospital in Sinjar city, Shingali said. The driver was also injured, he said.

“Iraqi and Turkish authorities must immediately and thoroughly investigate the car strike that injured two Çira TV reporters and their driver to determine its cause,” said CPJ Program Director Carlos Martinez de la Serna, in New York. “Local authorities must ensure journalists’ safety in northern Iraq as they report on crucial events.”

Sinjar is part of a disputed territory in northern Iraq and has been occupied by a succession of Iraqi and non-Iraqi sub-state actors. Turkey often conducts strikes in Sinjar, targeting YBS fighters.  

CPJ’s repeated calls to Mohammed Al-Zahabi, the director of Iraqi national security forces in Shingal city, were unanswered.

In September 2019, local authorities banned Çira TV from operating in Duhok province.