Turkey launches strikes in Syria and Iraq a week after Istanbul bombing

Turkey launched lethal airstrikes over northern areas of Syria and Iraq, the Turkish Defense 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 Workers’ Party, or PKK, and the Syrian People’s Protection Units, or YPG, the ministry stated in a assertion, which was accompanied by pictures of F-16 jets taking off and footage of a strike from an aerial drone.

The ministry cited Turkey’s proper to self protection beneath Article 51 of the United Nations Charter in launching an operation it referred to as Claw-Sword late Saturday. It stated it was concentrating 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 in the center 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, nevertheless, denied involvement.

Ankara and Washington each think about the PKK a terror group, however disagree on the standing of the YPG. Under the banner of the Syrian Democratic Forces, the YPG has been allied with the U.S. in the struggle 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 Defense 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 complete 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.

Aftermath of airstrikes Turkey's defence ministry says it carried out, in Derik
A view reveals the aftermath of airstrikes that Turkey’s defence ministry stated it carried out in Derik, Syria, Nov. 20, 2022.

North Press Agency/Handout through REUTERS

Defense Minister Hulusi Akar oversaw the airstrikes from an operations middle and congratulated pilots and floor employees. “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, based on a ministry assertion.

Akar claimed that a wide selection 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.

Other 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 take in its plans to determine a “safe zone” alongside northern Syria.

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

The Women’s Protection Units, 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 office stated in written response to The Associated Press.

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

The Syrian Defense Ministry stated “several” Syrian troopers had been killed in the northern Aleppo countryside and Hasakah province. Syrian state media had beforehand reported three troopers killed.

In neighboring Iraq, officers of the Kurdistan Regional Government 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 in the world 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 referred to as on folks to stay at dwelling 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.”

It emerged that Erdogan gave the order for the airstrikes as he was coming back from the G-20 meeting of world leaders in Indonesia on Thursday. The president’s office launched pictures of Erdogan being briefed on his airplane by Akar.

Later on 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 in the north. Earlier this year, Erdogan threatened one other navy operation in the border space.

Turkish forces launched a recent floor and air operation, dubbed Claw-Lock, towards the PKK in northern Iraq in April.

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