Turkish air strikes target Kurdish militants in Syria, Iraq after bomb attack

  • The attack in Istanbul on November 13 killed six people
  • Ankara is blaming Kurdish militants because of the explosion
  • The PKK, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, denies involvement
  • The SDF said 11 civilians were killed in the strike

ISTANBUL, Nov 20 (Reuters) – Turkish jets carried out airstrikes on Kurdish militant bases in northern Syria and northern Iraq on Sunday, destroying 89 targets, the defense ministry said. in Turkey, in response to a bomb attack in Istanbul that killed six people. a week ago.

The strikes will target bases of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, which Turkey says is a wing of the PKK, the ministry added in a statement.

Ankara has blamed Kurdish activists for an explosion on Istanbul’s Istiklal street on November 13 that killed six people and injured more than 80. No group has claimed responsibility for the route. the pedestrians, and the PKK and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). ) declined to participate.

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The strikes were carried out in Qandil, Asos and Hakurk in Iraq and Kobani, Tal Rifat, Cizire and Derik in Syria, the ministry said.

The 89 targets destroyed included shelters, tunnels and ammunition depots, he said, adding that “the so-called directors of terrorist organizations were among those who failed”.

An SDF spokesman said Turkish strikes destroyed infrastructure including grain silos, power stations and hospitals. Eleven civilians, including a journalist, were killed, Farhad Shami, head of the SDF media center, said on Twitter.

The SDF said in a statement that it would retaliate for the strike. “These attacks by the Turkish army will not go without a response,” he said.

Separately, a Syrian army source told state media SANA that several soldiers were killed in a “Turkish attack on Syrian soil” on Sunday morning, in a countryside near the north. Aleppo and Hasakah.

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Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said in a statement that all necessary measures were taken to avoid harming innocent people and the surrounding area, adding that “terrorists and the system of “Terrorists are the only targets.”

“The muscle of the Turkish Army is on top of the terrorists again,” he added, calling the operation “Claw Sword”.

Turkish officials said on Tuesday that Ankara plans to pursue targets in northern Syria after completing cross-border operations against PKK militants in Iraq.

“It’s time to give an account to Istiklal,” Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin wrote on Twitter on Sunday.

Turkey has launched three attacks so far in northern Syria against the YPG militia. President Tayyip Erdogan has previously said that Turkey could take other actions against the YPG. Ankara has also stepped up drone strikes in Syria in recent months, killing several senior SDF officials.

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Ankara has been conducting regular airstrikes in northern Iraq and has sent commandos to support its offensive as part of a long-running campaign against the PKK in Iraq.

The PKK has led an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984. It is considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

Washington has sided with the YPG in the fight against Islamic State in Syria, causing a rift with NATO ally Turkey.

Reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen in Istanbul, Suleiman Al-Khalidi in Amman, Nafisa Eltahir, Yasmin Hussein in Cairo, Kinda Makieh in Damascus; Written by Mahmoud Mourad; Editing by Chris Reese and Raissa Kasolowsky

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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