Turkey strikes in Syria, Iraq per week after Istanbul bombing



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

Warplanes attacked bases of the outlawed Kurdistan Employees’ Social gathering, or PKK, and the Syrian Individuals’s Safety Models, or YPG, the ministry stated in a press release, which was accompanied by photographs of F-16 jets taking off and photographs of a strike from an aerial drone.

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 stated it was concentrating 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 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, nonetheless, 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 combat 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.

The ministry claimed {that a} complete 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 heart and congratulated pilots and floor workers. “Our intention 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 stated, 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 ascertain a “secure zone” alongside northern Syria.

Syrian Democratic Forces spokesperson Farhad Shami in a tweet stated that two villages closely populated with displaced folks have been underneath Turkish bombardment. He stated 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,” stated 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 Models, or YPJ, which is linked to the YPG, stated the airstrikes focused areas alongside the Turkey-Syria border together with Kobani, Derbasiyeh and Ein Issa. “The airstrikes are random that concentrate on the folks,” the YPJ media workplace stated 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 stated, utilizing an Arabic acronym to discuss with the Islamic State group.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition warfare monitor, reported that the strikes had additionally hit Syrian military positions and that a minimum of 12 had been killed, together with SDF and Syrian troopers.

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

The Syrian Protection Ministry stated “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 stated a minimum of 32 PKK militants had been killed in 25 air raids.

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

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

An SDF assertion later stated the assaults “is not going to stay unanswered. On the acceptable time and place, we are going to reply in a robust 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 photographs 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 thrice since 2016 and already controls some territories within the north. Earlier this 12 months, Erdogan threatened one other navy operation within the border space.

Turkish forces launched a recent floor and air operation, dubbed Claw-Lock, towards 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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