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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 Staff’ Occasion, or PKK, and the Syrian Folks’s Safety Models, or YPG, the ministry stated in an announcement, 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 below 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 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, nonetheless, denied involvement.

Ankara and Washington each contemplate the PKK a terror group, however disagree on the standing of the YPG. Underneath the banner of the Syrian Democratic Forces, the YPG has been allied with the U.S. within the struggle 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 airplane 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 “giant 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 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 stated, based on 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 absorb its plans to determine a “secure zone” alongside northern Syria.

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

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 individuals,” the YPJ media workplace stated 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 stated, utilizing an Arabic acronym to seek advice from the Islamic State group.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition battle monitor, reported that the strikes had additionally hit Syrian military positions and that at the least 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 at the least 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 best to withstand and defend our areas in a significant manner that can take the area into an extended battle.”

SDF commander Mazloum Abdi known 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 battle erupts, all will likely be affected,” he tweeted.

An SDF assertion later stated the assaults “is not going to stay unanswered. On the acceptable time and place, we’ll reply in a powerful and efficient method.”

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 airplane 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 yr, Erdogan threatened one other army operation within the border space.

Turkish forces launched a contemporary 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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