Some protected areas of the Kosalan Mountain in Sarvabad, Kurdistan province, have caught fire as a result of the shelling of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

Despite all the efforts of the locals to put out the fire, it has not yet been brought under control as the fire spread and the IRGC forces prevented the volunteering people from responding to the fire.

Simultaneously with the shelling of the area, which started on the morning of 16 August, the IRGC forces summoned the heads of a number of villages on the foothills of Kosalan Mountain and asked them to evacuate the villagers from the heights of the area.

A source that spoke to the Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) said the IRGC shelling targeted the areas near the Razab village of Sarvabad and “lasted for several hours”.

According to this source, at the same time as the artillery fire, the village heads of Zhivar, Bolbar, Selin, Abbasabad, and Vargah Vir were summoned to the headquarters of the IRGC in Sarvabad.

“The officers have told the village heads that in the next few days, animal breeders and beekeepers must evacuate the heights of the Kosalan Mountain”, the source said, adding that the officers warned that “those who do not leave the region will be responsible for their own lives”.

The IRGC has also announced the holding of a military exercise in Kosalan Mountain in recent days.

This is despite the fact that these mountainous areas have been registered as protected areas under the management of the Environmental Protection Agency per enactment No. 303 issued by the Environmental Protection Council (State Commission for Infrastructure) since 2009.

Kurdish environmental activists have repeatedly warned that the mountainous areas of Shaho and Kosalan are protected areas and that any military manoeuvre in these areas is against the law.