Turkey launched an air campaign on Sunday morning against Kurdish guerrillas in northern Iraq and Syria in retaliation for last Sunday’s terrorist attack in Istanbul, Turkey’s Defense Ministry reported.
A defense statement posted on Twitter this Sunday at 0:13 GMT said, “The Sword Claw air campaign has been launched against the northern regions of Syria and Iraq, which are used by terrorists to attack our country “
The goal is to “neutralize terrorists” from the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in northern Iraq and the Syrian Kurdish militia People’s Defense Units (YPG) in Syria, to “ensure border security” and “destroy sources of terrorism”. Statement added.
The ministry had tweeted shortly before, along with a photo of a fighter-bomber in night flight, “It’s time to seek accounts. We are making despicable traitors pay.”
Shortly afterwards he added in another message, “Houses of terror destroyed by aimed shots,” followed by a short video showing the effects of an aerial bombardment at an undefined location.
Public channel TRT indicated it was a retaliation for last Sunday’s attack in Istanbul, which Ankara attributes to the YPG, although the organization denied any involvement.
The attack, carried out with a bag of TNT explosives left in the busy Istiklal street in the center of Istanbul, killed 6 people and injured 81, of whom 13 are still hospitalized.
According to Turkish police, the perpetrator, a young Syrian woman named Ahlam Albashir, was trained by the YPG in the Kurdish city of Kobane in Syria.
Both the YPG and the PKK, which have denied any involvement, have accused Ankara of wanting to use the attack as a pretext for a military operation in Syria.
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Private channel CNNTürk, citing military sources, assures that operations in Syria are directed against a number of cities under the control of the YPG in the northern strip of Syria, from Derbse to Kobane and Tel Rifat, and they have the ground support of the Syrians . Local allies with the militia, Ankara.
In Iraq, the aforementioned series explains, bombings are carried out against the Qandil mountains, the PKK’s rearguard in the country’s extreme northeast, and against Sinkar, near the Syrian border.
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The airstrikes targeted Kobane, a strategic Kurdish-majority Syrian city near the Turkish border, and the northern Iraqi city of Sinjar.
Farhad Shami, a spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces, said in a tweet that two villages with dense populations of displaced people were hit by Turkish shelling. He said the attacks had caused “deaths and injuries”.
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The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the attacks also hit Syrian Army positions and that at least 12 people, including SDF and Syrian soldiers, were killed. The organization noted that Turkish warplanes carried out about 25 airstrikes on the rural areas of Aleppo, Raqqa and Hasakah.
In neighboring Iraq, the US Consulate General in Erbil said they were monitoring “credible reports” of possible Turkish military action in northern Syria and northern Iraq in the coming days.
The Kurdish-led authority in northeastern Syria said on Saturday that if Turkey attacks, fighters in the region “have the right to resist and defend our territories which will lead the region into a protracted war.”
Turkey has launched three major cross-border operations in Syria since 2016 and already controls some areas in the north. Earlier this year, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened another operation in northern Syria. The Turkish military launched a new ground and air operation against the PKK in northern Iraq in April, dubbed Claw-Lock.
Bulgaria detains five alleged accomplices of Istanbul attack
Bulgarian police have arrested five people suspected of involvement in last Sunday’s terrorist attack in Istanbul, Sika Mileva, a spokeswoman for the Bulgarian prosecutor’s office, announced on Saturday.
According to Mileva, the detainees are accused of helping those responsible for the attack, after it was committed, offering logistics and communications to help one or more of those involved leave Turkey in order to flee from the authorities. .
A court in Sofia ordered preventive detention for four of the five detainees, although it found no evidence of complicity in a terrorist act, but only people smuggling across the border from Turkey to Bulgaria, BNR public radio reported.
The main clue is a contact by mobile phone with which one of the detainees communicated with a possible participant in the attack, says the above chain.
Mileva declined to give more details about the detained people or the facts she is accused of, but public television BNT, citing its own sources, assured that the detained Three killed are Moldovan nationals, while two others, a man and a woman, are. from an Arab country.
The BNT says one of the detainees is a person “close” to Bilal Hassan, a Syrian national whom Ankara considers the mastermind of the attack and who allegedly ordered the content writer, the young Syrian Ahlam Albashir, to be killed. was arrested. in the city of Istanbul.
According to the private Bulgarian channel BTV, this detainee had contacted Hasan with the help of other detainees to help him leave Turkey and that transit across the border would be done with a minibus that was departing that same Sunday. Attack from the Turkish border city of Edirne.
However, before arriving in Bulgaria, Hassan had a fight with a migrant woman who was traveling in a minibus and was forced to leave the vehicle by traffickers, one of the five people arrested in Bulgaria today. lawyer Adelina Natina told BTV. ,
BTV cited judicial sources as saying that the suspect then got into an SUV with Bulgarian license plates, but has since derailed.
The Turkish Interior Ministry initially claimed that those involved in the attack had plans to flee to Greece after the attack.