Turkey is carrying out airstrikes against Kurdish fighters in Syria and Iraq

Turkey announced on Sunday that it had carried out airstrikes against the bases of outlawed Kurdish fighters in northern Syria and Iraq, which it said were being used to carry out “terrorist” attacks on Turkish soil.

At least 31 people were killed in overnight raids in northern and northeastern Syria, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said. They mainly opposed the positions of the Syrian Kurds.

The offensive under the code name “Operation “Claw-Sword”” took place a week after a As a result of the explosion in the center of Istanbul, six people died and injured 81 people, Turkey blamed the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) for the attack.

The PKK has waged a bloody insurgency there for decades and is designated a terrorist group by Ankara and its Western allies. But he denies his involvement in the explosion in Istanbul.

“The Sword Claw air operation was successfully carried out as part of our strategy to root out terrorism at its source and eliminate terrorist attacks against our people and security forces from northern Iraq and Syria,” the Ministry of Defense said in a statement.

The strikes hit PKK bases in the mountainous regions of northern Iraq, Qandil, Assos, and Hakurk, as well as Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) bases in Ain al-Arab (Kobane in Kurdish), Tal Rifaat, Jazeera, and Derik in Syria. . , the ministry informed.

Ankara considers the YPG a terrorist group linked to the PKK.

A total of 89 facilities were destroyed, including hideouts, bunkers, caves, tunnels, ammunition depots, so-called headquarters and militant training camps, the ministry said, adding that “many terrorists were neutralized.”

“All our aircraft returned safely to their bases after the operation,” it added.

Minister of Defense Hulusi Akar it was seen in the video of the president’s briefing Recep Tayyip Erdoganwho gave the order for the last operation.

Meanwhile, the Syrian government said several of its soldiers were killed in the raids.

Last Sunday’s attack in Istanbul was the bloodiest in five years, rekindling bitter memories of a wave of nationwide terror attacks between 2015 and 2017.

These attacks have been largely attributed to Kurdish militants or Islamic State (IS) jihadists, but no one has claimed responsibility. Attack on Istanbul.

Rocket attack

A rocket fired by Kurdish forces in Syria’s Tal Rifaat region injured eight security personnel on the Turkish border, the official Anadolu news agency reported.

Two Turkish soldiers and six policemen were injured when a rocket hit the Onkupinar crossing in southern Turkey near the Syrian border, the agency said.

After the explosion in Istanbul, Turkish authorities arrested more than a dozen people, including the main suspect Alham Albashir — a Syrian woman, they say, worked for Kurdish fighters.

Bulgaria also detained five people who are accused of helping one of the suspects.

“The hour of reckoning has arrived,” the Turkish Defense Ministry tweeted early Sunday with a photo of the plane taking off for a night operation.

Nearly 25 airstrikes hit Raqqa, Hasakah and Aleppo provinces, killing 18 members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), 12 members of the Syrian army and one journalist, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Kurdish authorities in northeastern Syria named 29 dead: 11 civilians, 15 fighters who were part of the Syrian military, two bunker guards and one Kurdish fighter.

In the past, the Turkish military has denied claims of targeting civilians.

In its first comment on the Turkish strikes, Syria’s defense ministry said “a number of military personnel” were killed due to “Turkish aggression in the northern provinces of Aleppo and Hasakah at dawn.”

Difficult ties with the US

Turkey’s latest military push could spell trouble for it difficult relations with Western allies — especially the United States, which in its fight against IS jihadists mainly relies on the forces of the Syrian Kurds.

Turkey has often accused Washington of supplying weapons to Kurdish forces.

Minister of Internal Affairs Suleiman Soylu rejected the United States’ condolences after the Istanbul attack, although Erdogan accepted them during Tuesday’s meeting with the president Joe Biden on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Indonesia.

Soylu said Ankara believes the attack on Istanbul was ordered from Kobane, which is controlled by Syrian Kurdish militias who also deny a role.

Kobane, a Kurdish-majority city near the Turkish border, was captured by IS in late 2014 before Syrian Kurdish forces drove them out early the following year.

The US-backed SDF said in a statement that Turkey’s attacks “will not go unanswered”.

Turkey has launched waves of attacks on Syria since 2016, targeting Kurdish militias as well as IS jihadists, while Ankara and forces it backs have seized territory along the Syrian border.

Since May, Erdogan threatened to launch a new operation in northern Syria. Turkey is carrying out airstrikes against Kurdish fighters in Syria and Iraq

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