Turkey Strikes in Syria, Iraq a Week After Istanbul Bombing

ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkey launched airstrikes over northern areas of Syria and Iraq, the Turkish Protection Ministry mentioned Sunday, focusing on Kurdish teams that Ankara holds answerable for final week’s bomb assault in Istanbul.

Warplanes attacked bases of the outlawed Kurdistan Staff’ Occasion, or PKK, and the Syrian Folks’s Safety Units, or YPG, the ministry mentioned in an announcement, which was accompanied by photos of F-16 jets taking off and pictures of a strike from an aerial drone.

There was no rapid remark from both group.

The ministry cited Turkey’s proper to self protection underneath Article 51 of the United Nations Constitution in launching an operation it known as Claw-Sword late Saturday. It mentioned it was focusing on areas “used as a base by terrorists of their assaults on our nation.”

Turkey mentioned it was searching for to stop assaults, safe its southern border and “destroy terrorism at its supply.”

The airstrikes got here after a bomb rocked a bustling avenue within the coronary heart of Istanbul on Nov. 13, killing six folks and wounding over 80 others. Turkish authorities blamed the assault on the PKK and its Syrian affiliate the YPG. The Kurdish militant teams have, nevertheless, denied involvement.

Ankara and Washington each think about the PKK a terror group, however disagree on the standing of the YPG. Beneath the banner of the Syrian Democratic Forces, the YPG has been allied with the U.S. within the struggle towards the Islamic State group in Syria.

The PKK has fought an armed insurgency in Turkey since 1984. The battle has killed tens of hundreds of individuals since then.

Following the strikes, the Protection Ministry posted a photograph of an F-16 fighter aircraft with the phrase, “Payback time! The scoundrels are being held to account for his or her treacherous assaults.” The DHA information company reported that F-16s took off from airfields in Malatya and Diyarbakir in southern Turkey whereas drones have been launched from Batman.

Protection Minister Hulusi Akar oversaw the airstrikes from an operations middle and congratulated pilots and floor workers. “Our goal is to make sure the safety of our 85 million residents and our borders and to retaliate for any treacherous assault on our nation,” he mentioned, in line with a ministry assertion.

Akar added: “Shelters, bunkers, caves, tunnels and warehouses belonging to terrorists have been destroyed with nice success. … The so-called headquarters of the terrorist group have been additionally hit and destroyed with direct hits.”

Different Turkish officers responded to the assaults. Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin tweeted {a photograph} of the Turkish flag with the remark “Payback time for Istiklal” — a reference to the road the place final week’s bombing occurred.

“All of the sudden one night time …” International Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu wrote, referring to earlier threats from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Turkey may launch shock strikes.

The airstrikes focused Kobani, a strategic Kurdish-majority Syrian city close to the Turkish border that Ankara had beforehand tried to overhaul in its plans to determine a “secure zone” alongside northern Syria.

Syrian Democratic Forces spokesperson Farhad Shami in a tweet added that two villages closely populated with displaced folks have been underneath Turkish bombardment. He mentioned the strikes had resulted in 11 civilian deaths and destroyed a hospital, an influence plant and grain silos.

The Girls’s Safety Units, or YPJ, which is linked to the YPG, mentioned the airstrikes focused areas alongside the Turkey-Syria border together with Kobani, Derbasiyeh and Ein Issa. “The airstrikes are random that focus on the folks,” the YPJ media workplace mentioned in written response to The Related Press.

“The individuals who fought the Daesh terrorist group at the moment are underneath assault by Turkish warplanes,” it mentioned, utilizing an Arabic acronym to check with the Islamic State group.

Native media reported that the northern Iraqi metropolis of Sinjar was additionally focused. Syrian opposition media reported that the Turkish airstrikes focused Kurdish-led SDF positions.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition struggle monitor, reported that the strikes had additionally hit Syrian military positions and that no less than 12 had been killed, together with SDF and Syrian troopers.

The observatory mentioned about 25 airstrikes have been carried out by Turkish warplanes on websites within the countryside of Aleppo, Raqqa and Hasakah.

In neighboring Iraq, the U.S. Consulate Basic in Erbil mentioned it’s monitoring “credible open-source stories” of potential Turkish army motion in northern Syria and northern Iraq within the coming days.

The Kurdish-led authority in northeast Syria mentioned Saturday that if Turkey assaults, then fighters within the space would have “the proper to withstand and defend our areas in a serious method that can take the area into an extended struggle.”

SDF commander Mazloum Abdi known as on folks to stay at residence and abide by safety forces’ directions. “We’re making each effort to keep away from a serious disaster. If struggle erupts, all shall be affected,” he tweeted.

It emerged that Erdogan gave the order for the airstrikes as he was getting back from the G-20 assembly of world leaders in Indonesia on Thursday. The president’s workplace launched photos of Erdogan being briefed on his aircraft by Akar.

In a while Sunday Erdogan, accompanied by a clutch of officers together with Akar, left Turkey for the World Cup opening ceremony in Qatar.

Turkey has launched three main cross-border operations into Syria since 2016 and already controls some territories within the north. Earlier this 12 months, Erdogan threatened one other operation in northern Syria.

Turkish forces launched a recent floor and air operation, dubbed Claw-Lock, towards the PKK in northern Iraq in April.


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