Home » Turkey Kurdish strikes: Operation Claw-Sword targets militant bases
Iraq Military Turkey

Turkey Kurdish strikes: Operation Claw-Sword targets militant bases

Turkey has launched air strikes on Kurdish targets in Iraq and Syria, a week after a bombing in Istanbul which it blames on Kurdish militants.

The strikes – dubbed Operation Claw-Sword – hit 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 denies carrying out the Istanbul attack.

As the air strikes 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 Turkey, 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 strikes 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 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 40 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.

In recent years, Turkey has conducted a number of cross-border operations targeting Kurdish groups based in northern Iraq and Syria, aiming to prevent attacks on Turkish territory.

Source: BBC