Turkiye launches air-raids on Kurdish targets

Turkiye has launched air-raids on Kurdish targets in Iraq and Syria, a week after a bombing in Istan­bul which it blamed on Kurdish militants.

The raids – dubbed “Op­eration Claw-Sword” – struck Kurdish bases which were being used to launch attacks on Turkey, the defence ministry said.

A Syrian-Kurdish spokesper­son said two villages populated with internally displaced people were hit.The banned Kurdish PKK group denied carrying out the Istanbul attack.

As the air-raids began, the Turkish defence ministry tweeted that the “hour of reckoning” had arrived, alongside a picture of a fighter plane taking off and footage of an explosion.

“Terrorists’ shelters, bunkers, caves, tunnels, and warehouses were successfully destroyed,” said Turkey’s Defence Minister, Hulusi Akar.

The Turkish defence ministry later said the strikes on Kurdish militant bases in northern Syria and northern Iraq destroyed 89 targets.

Kurdish-led forces in Syria vowed to retaliate and said the city of Kobane was hit as well as two densely populated villages.

Later on Sunday, a rocket fired from Syria reportedly injured three people on the border with Turkiye, Turkish state media said. At least 31 people were killed in northern Syria alone, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

It is not clear which targets were hit in Iraq.The raids come a week after a bombing on one of Istanbul’s busiest streets which killed six people and injured more than 80.

Turkish authorities blamed the bombing on the Kurdish militant group, the PKK, which Turkey, the European Union (EU) and US regard as a terrorist organisa­tion.

However, the PKK said it would not “directly target civil­ians” and denied responsibility.

Authorities have arrested dozens of people in connection with the attack including a Syrian woman who they say planted the bomb.

Before the arrest, the Turkish justice minister said a bag had ex­ploded near a bench after a wom­an sat there for forty minutes.

Five people have also been charged in Bulgaria over the attack, according to the AFP news agency. Kurdish militants have been battling for decades to achieve Kurdish self-rule in south-east Turkey. —AFP

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