Turkey strikes in Syria, Iraq per week after Istanbul bombing | WETM

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

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

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

Syrian Kurdish officers have alleged civilian deaths from the air assaults.

The airstrikes got here after a bomb rocked a bustling avenue within the coronary heart of Istanbul on Nov. 13, killing six individuals 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 contemplate the PKK a terror group, however disagree on the standing of the YPG. Below the banner of the Syrian Democratic Forces, the YPG has been allied with the U.S. within the battle in opposition to the Islamic State group in Syria.

The PKK has fought an armed insurgency in Turkey since 1984. The battle has killed tens of 1000’s 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.

The ministry claimed {that a} whole of 89 targets have been destroyed and a “massive quantity” of what it designated “terrorists” have been killed in strikes that ranged from Tall Rifat in northwest Syria to the Qandil mountains in Iraq’s northeast.

Protection Minister Hulusi Akar oversaw the airstrikes from an operations middle and congratulated pilots and floor employees. “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 accordance with a ministry assertion.

Akar claimed that a variety of targets “have been destroyed with nice success,” together with what he described because the “the so-called headquarters of the terrorist group,” with out giving additional particulars.

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.

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

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

Within the Syrian city of Derik, which lies the place the borders of Syria, Iraq and Turkey meet, The Related Press discovered a burnt out petrol station with destroyed buildings close by.

“There have been Turkish airstrikes right here, roughly 5 strikes,” mentioned Abdulgafar Ali, an worker on the petrol station. “The bombardment brought about mass destruction. It shut down the station fully and resulted within the killing and injuring of harmless civilians, who dedicated no sin.”

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 concentrate on the individuals,” the YPJ media workplace mentioned in written response to The Related Press.

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

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition conflict 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.

The Syrian Protection Ministry mentioned “a number of” Syrian troopers have been killed within the northern Aleppo countryside and Hasakah province. Syrian state media had beforehand reported three troopers killed.

In neighboring Iraq, officers of the Kurdistan Regional Authorities mentioned no less than 32 PKK militants had been killed in 25 air raids.

The Kurdish-led authority in northeast Syria mentioned Saturday that if Turkey assaults, then fighters within the space would have “the appropriate to withstand and defend our areas in a significant approach that may take the area into a protracted conflict.”

SDF commander Mazloum Abdi referred to as on individuals to stay at house and abide by safety forces’ directions. “We’re making each effort to keep away from a significant disaster. If conflict erupts, all might be affected,” he tweeted.

An SDF assertion later mentioned the assaults “is not going to stay unanswered. On the applicable time and place, we are going to reply in a powerful and efficient method.”

Turkey’s state-run Anadolu information company reported {that a} Turkish soldier and two law enforcement officials have been later wounded in a rocket assault on the Oncupinar border gate with Syria.

It emerged that Erdogan gave the order for the airstrikes as he was coming 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.

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

Turkey has invaded northern Syria 3 times since 2016 and already controls some territories within the north. Earlier this yr, Erdogan threatened one other army operation within the border space.

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


Related Press writers Abby Sewell and Samya Kullab in Baghdad and Bassem Mroue and Kareem Chehayeb in Beirut contributed to this report.

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