Forces of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) have been harassing Kurdish civilians in the past week in the mountainous areas of Salmas in West Azarbaijan province, such as Saray Chichak, Khadrasheh, and Sarhelan, where livestock farmers of the surrounding villages live.

In addition, since 7 July, following the clashes between the IRGC forces and members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) near the village of Mateh Kharpeh in Salmas, strict security measures have been taken in the region.

A source who spoke to the Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) said: “In the past week, IRGC forces in Salmas threatened and harassed livestock farmers in the mountains of the city and pressured them to report the movements of the forces of the Kurdish opposition parties to the IRGC.”

According to this source, on the evening of 7 July, the IRGC forces lay an ambush around the heights of Pey-Chupan near the village of Mateh Kharpeh. At least four IRGC members were killed and one was wounded as a clash broke out for several hours between these forces and members of the PKK.

The source added that after the IRGC forces were forced to retreat, they heavily bombarded the area the next day. Also, due to the large presence of IRGC forces, the atmosphere in these areas has become strictly secure.

The public relations of the Hamza Seyyed al-Shohada base of IRGC’s ground forces confirmed the clash in a statement, claiming they “destroyed an entire team” of PKK members.