UK - Turkey strikes Kurdish targets in Iraq, Syria


(MENAFN- Jordan Times)

BEIRUT — Turkey has launched deadly strikes against Kurdish targets in Iraq and Syria, where Kurdish forces were still reeling from the largest Daesh terror group attack in nearly three years.

The raids on Tuesday night targeted shelters, tunnels, caves, ammunition depots, bases and training camps operated by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the People's Protection Units (YPG) which Ankara views as terrorist groups, Turkey's defence ministry said Wednesday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the Syria strikes hit a Kurdish-run power station near the town of Al Malikiyah in Hasakeh province, where a brazen jailbreak attempt by Daesh extremists last month sparked days of clashes that have left hundreds dead.

'At least four people were killed in the strike targeting a power station near Al Malikiyah,' the Britain-based war monitor said, adding that they were all security guards.

The attack came hours after hundreds of mourners gathered in Al Malikiyah for mass funerals honouring Kurdish fighters killed in a week of battles with the extremists who had attacked the Ghwayran jail on January 20.

In Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region, Turkish strikes hit PKK positions in the Makhmur and Sinjar regions, where bombardment caused 'human and material losses', Kurdish authorities said, without specifying a death toll.

As part of the attack, Turkish 'military aircraft bombarded six PKK positions in the Karjokh mountains', which overlook a camp for Kurdish refugees from Turkey, Kurdish counter-terrorism services said in a statement.

The PKK-linked armed group that oversees management of the camp reported 'the death of two combatants and dozens of injuries among camp residents'.

It said the wounded where stable and receiving the necessary medical care.

Blacklisted as a terrorist group by Ankara and its Western allies, the PKK has been waging an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984.

The YPG, which forms the backbone of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces fighting Daesh in Syria, is viewed by Ankara as the PKK's Syria offshoot.

Washington relied heavily on the SDF to defeat Daesh extremists who overran large swathes of Syria and neighbouring Iraq in 2014.

The SDF said 40 of its fighters as well as more than 70 prison guards and staff were killed in the week-long Daesh attack on the Ghwayran jail in Hasakeh.

The YPG condemned the latest Turkish strikes that came on the heels of Daesh's largest Syria operation in three years.

Hundreds of mourners gathered in Al Malikiyah on Tuesday to honour slain SDF fighters, many brandishing Kurdish flags and portraits of the dead.

Since the start of its military intervention in Syria in 2016, Ankara has sporadically bombed the YPG and carried out military operations on the ground targeting Daesh and Kurdish forces.

Turkey also routinely carries out attacks in Iraq, where the PKK has bases and training camps in the northern Sinjar region and on the mountainous border with Turkey.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has threatened to“clean up” parts of northern Iraq, accuses the PKK of using the mountainous border area as a springboard for its insurgency.

In December, Turkey carried out retaliatory air strikes in northern Iraq after three Turkish soldiers died in a PKK attack.

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