Beirut (AFP), February 2 – Turkey said on Wednesday it had launched deadly strikes against Kurdish targets in Iraq and Syria, where Kurdish forces have been reeling from the Islamic State group’s biggest attack in nearly three years.
Tuesday night’s raids targeted shelters, tunnels, caves, ammunition depots, bases and training camps operated by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the People’s Protection Units (YPG) , which Ankara considers terrorist groups, the Turkish Defense Ministry said. .
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Syrian strikes hit a Kurdish power station near the town of Al-Malikiyah in Hasakeh province, where a brazen escape attempt by jihadists from the IS last month sparked days of clashes that left hundreds dead.
“At least four people were killed in the attack targeting a power station near Al-Malikiyah,” the UK-based Observatory said.
The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the de facto army of the Kurdish administration, said four of its fighters died in the attack and vowed revenge against Turkey.
Later Wednesday, the shelling of the Turkish town of Al-Bab in northern Syria killed eight people, including five civilians, according to the Observatory.
The War Observer did not specify who was responsible, but Kurdish forces and Syrian regime troops are both deployed in the area.
In the autonomous region of Kurdistan in northern Iraq, Turkish strikes on Tuesday targeted PKK positions in the regions of Makhmur and Sinjar, where shelling caused “human and material losses”, authorities said. Kurds, without specifying a balance sheet.
As part of the attack, which was condemned by Baghdad, “Turkish military planes bombed six PKK positions in the Karjokh mountains”, which overlook a camp for Kurdish refugees from Turkey, Kurdish counterterrorism services said in a statement. a statement.
A PKK-linked group that oversees the camp’s management reported “the death of two fighters and dozens of injured camp residents”.
In a statement, Iraqi security forces condemned the attack as a violation of Iraqi airspace.
He called on Ankara to “put an end to these violations” and said that “Iraq is fully ready to cooperate (with Ankara) to stabilize the situation on the border”.
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Designated 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 SDF fighting IS in Syria – is seen by Ankara as the Syrian offshoot of the PKK.
Washington relied heavily on the SDF to defeat IS jihadists who overran large swaths of Syria and neighboring Iraq in 2014.
The SDF says 40 of its fighters along with more than 70 prison guards and staff were killed in IS’ week-long attack on Ghwayran prison, the group’s largest operation in Syria since 2019.
The YPG condemned the latest Turkish strikes.
“Turkey is trying to continue what IS started,” he said on Twitter, using a different acronym for IS.
“Everyone must act against this attack now.”
The Turkish strike came hours after hundreds of mourners gathered in Al-Malikiyah for a mass funeral in honor of Kurdish fighters killed in a week of fighting with IS jihadists who had attacked Ghwayran prison on 20 January.
Since the start of its military intervention in Syria in 2016, Ankara has sporadically bombarded the YPG and carried out military operations on the ground targeting IS and Kurdish forces.
Turkey also regularly carries out attacks in Iraq, where the PKK has bases and training camps in the Sinjar region and on the mountainous border with Turkey.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has threatened to “cleanse” parts of northern Iraq, accuses the PKK of using the border area as a springboard for its insurrection.
In December, Turkey carried out retaliatory airstrikes in northern Iraq after three Turkish soldiers were killed in a PKK attack.