Turkey introduced on Sunday that it had carried out airstrikes towards the bases of outlawed Kurdish militants in northern Syria and Iraq, which it mentioned have been getting used to launch “terrorist attacks” on Turkish soil.
The raids in northern and northeastern Syria in a single day, primarily towards positions held by Syrian Kurdish forces, killed a minimum of 31 individuals, the British-based conflict monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights mentioned.
The offensive, codenamed Operation Claw-Sword, comes per week after an explosion in central Istanbul killed six individuals and injured 81.
Turkey blamed the assault on the Kurdistan Staff’ Get together (PKK), which has waged a bloody insurgency there for many years and is designated a terrorist group by Ankara and its Western allies. The PKK has denied involvement within the explosion in Istanbul.
“The air operation Claw-Sword was successfully carried out, as part of our strategy to eradicate terrorism at its source and eliminate terrorist attacks against our people and security forces from northern Iraq and Syria,” the Ministry of Protection mentioned in a press release.
The assaults focused PKK bases in northern Iraq’s mountainous areas of Kandil, Asos and Hakurk, in addition to bases of the Kurdish Folks’s Safety Items (YPG), within the areas of Ayn al-Arab (referred to as Kobane in Kurdish), Tal Rifaat, Jazira and Derik in Syria, mentioned the ministry. Ankara considers the YPG a terrorist group affiliated with the PKK.
Of all, “89 targets including shelters, bunkers, caves, tunnels, ammunition depots, so-called headquarters and training camps belonging to the militants were destroyed,” the ministry mentioned, including “many terrorists were neutralized,” together with their leaders. “All our planes returned safely to their bases after the operation,” it added.
Protection Minister Hulusi Akar was seen in a video briefing by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, ordering the newest operation, which the Syrian authorities says killed quite a few its troopers.
The Istanbul bombing was the deadliest in 5 years and introduced again bitter recollections of a wave of nationwide assaults from 2015 to 2017 attributed primarily to Kurdish militants or Islamic State (IS) jihadists. No particular person or group has claimed accountability.
After the explosion, Turkish authorities arrested greater than a dozen individuals, together with the highest suspect Alham Albashir – a Syrian girl who allegedly labored for Kurdish militants. Bulgaria has additionally arrested 5 individuals accused of serving to one of many suspects.
“The hour of reckoning has come,” the Turkish Protection Ministry tweeted early Sunday together with a photograph of a airplane taking off for a nighttime operation.
Practically 25 airstrikes hit the provinces of Raqa, Hassakeh and Aleppo, killing 18 members of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), 12 members of Syria’s navy and a journalist, in accordance with the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The Kurdish authorities in northeastern Syria, in the meantime, reported 29 lifeless – together with 11 civilians, 15 troopers aligned with Syria’s navy, two silo guards and a Kurdish fighter. Turkey’s navy has beforehand denied claims that its assaults goal civilians.
In its first touch upon the Turkish assaults, the Syrian Protection Ministry mentioned “a number of soldiers” have been killed attributable to “Turkish aggressions in northern Aleppo and Hassakeh provinces at dawn”.
Complicated ties with the US
Turkey’s newest navy strikes might spell hassle for Ankara’s advanced relationship with its Western allies — notably the US, which has relied totally on Syrian Kurdish militia forces in its battle towards IS jihadists. Turkey has typically accused Washington of supplying Kurdish forces with weapons.
Inside Minister Suleyman Soylu rejected US messages of condolences after the Istanbul assault, though Erdogan accepted them throughout a gathering on Tuesday with President Joe Biden on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Indonesia.
Soylu has mentioned Ankara believes the order for the Istanbul assault was given from Kobane, managed by Syrian Kurdish militia forces, which have additionally denied any position.
Kobane, a Kurdish-majority metropolis close to the Turkish border, was captured by IS in late 2014 earlier than Syrian Kurdish forces drove them out early the next yr.
“These attacks by the Turkish occupation state will not go unanswered,” the US-backed SDF mentioned in a press release. “At the appropriate time and place, we will respond forcefully and effectively.”
Turkey has launched waves of assaults on Syria since 2016 concentrating on Kurdish militias in addition to IS jihadists, and Ankara and forces backed by it have seized territory alongside the Syrian border. Since Might, Erdogan has threatened to launch a brand new operation in northern Syria.