Turkey strikes in Syria, Iraq every 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, focusing on Kurdish teams that Ankara holds chargeable for final week’s bomb assault in Istanbul.

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

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

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 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 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 their treacherous attacks.” The DHA information company reported that F-16s took off from airfields in Malatya and Diyarbakir in southern Turkey whereas drones had been launched from Batman.

The ministry claimed {that a} whole of 89 targets had been destroyed and a “large number” of what it designated “terrorists” had 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 aim is to ensure the security of our 85 million citizens and our borders and to retaliate for any treacherous attack on our country,” he stated, in line with a ministry assertion.

Akar claimed that a variety of targets “were destroyed with great success,” together with what he described because the “the so-called headquarters of the terrorist organization,” 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 ascertain a “safe zone” alongside northern Syria.

Syrian Democratic Forces spokesperson Farhad Shami in a tweet stated that two villages closely populated with displaced individuals had been beneath 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 were Turkish airstrikes here, approximately five strikes,” stated Abdulgafar Ali, an worker on the petrol station. “The bombardment caused mass destruction. It shut down the station completely and resulted in the killing and injuring of innocent civilians, who committed 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 target the people,” the YPJ media workplace stated in written response to The Related Press.

“The people who fought the Daesh terrorist organization are now under attack 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 struggle 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 had been carried out by Turkish warplanes on websites within the countryside of Aleppo, Raqqa and Hasakah.

The Syrian Protection Ministry stated “several” Syrian troopers had 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 right to resist and defend our areas in a major way that will take the region into a long war.”

SDF commander Mazloum Abdi known as on individuals to stay at residence and abide by safety forces’ directions. “We are making every effort to avoid a major catastrophe. If war erupts, all will be affected,” he tweeted.

An SDF assertion later stated the assaults “will not remain unanswered. At the appropriate time and place, we will respond in a strong and effective manner.”

Turkey’s state-run Anadolu information company reported {that a} Turkish soldier and two law enforcement officials had 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 getting back from the G-20 assembly of world leaders in Indonesia on Thursday. The president’s workplace launched pictures of Erdogan being briefed on his airplane by Akar.

In a while 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 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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