- Attack in Istanbul on November 13 killed six people
- Ankara has Kurdish militants blamed for the explosion
- PKK, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces deny involvement
- SDF says 11 civilians were killed in attacks
ISTANBUL, Nov 20 (Reuters) – Turkish warplanes carried out airstrikes on Kurdish militant bases in northern Syria and northern Iraq on Sunday, destroying 89 targets, Turkey’s defense ministry said, in retaliation for a bomb attack in Istanbul that killed six people. came to life. a week ago.
The attacks targeted bases of the outlawed Kurdish 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 militants for the blast on Istiklal Avenue in Istanbul on November 13 that killed six people and injured more than 80. ) have denied involvement.
The attacks 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, it said, adding that “so-called directors of the terrorist organization were among those neutralized”.
An SDF spokesman said the Turkish attacks had destroyed infrastructure, including grain silos, a power station and a hospital. 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 they would retaliate for the strikes. “These attacks by the Turkish-occupied forces will not go unanswered,” it said.
Separately, a Syrian military source told state media SANA that a number of military personnel had been killed in “Turkish aggression on Syrian land” on Sunday morning, in the countryside near northern Aleppo and Hasaka.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said in a statement that all necessary measures have been taken to prevent harm to innocent people and the environment, adding that “only terrorists and terrorist structures were targeted”.
“The claw of our Turkish forces was once again on top of terrorists,” he added, calling the operation “Claw Sword.”
A Turkish official said on Tuesday that Ankara intends to pursue targets in northern Syria after it completed a cross-border operation against PKK militants in Iraq.
“It is time to hold Istiklal accountable,” Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin wrote on Twitter on Sunday.
Turkey has so far carried out three raids in northern Syria against the YPG militia. President Tayyip Erdogan has previously said that Turkey could carry out another operation against the YPG. Ankara has also escalated drone strikes in Syria in recent months, killing a number of key SDF officials.
Ankara regularly carries out airstrikes in northern Iraq and has sent commandos to support its offensives as part of a long-running campaign against the PKK in Iraq.
The PKK has been leading an uprising against the Turkish state since 1984. It is considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.
Washington has allied with the YPG in fighting the Islamic State in Syria, creating 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; Edited by Chris Reese and Raissa Kasolowsky
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