Turkey launches deadly air campaign over Syria in response to Istanbul bombing | CNN



Eleven people, including a journalist, were killed in Syria after Turkish warplanes carried out an “air operation” in the country and neighboring Iraq late Saturday, according to an official of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). No casualties have been reported from the Iraqi side.

Turkey’s new cross-border offensive, dubbed “Operation Claw-Sword” by the Defense Ministry, targets the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the People’s Defense Units of the PYD (YPG) and the Union of Communities in Kurdistan (KCK). news agency Anadolu.

The campaign follows a deadly explosion in the heart of Istanbul a week ago, for which Turkish officials said Kurdish separatists were responsible, a claim denied by Kurdish groups. That attack killed at least six people and injured at least 81 others.

Turkish fighter jets carried out air strikes around Kobani, the village of Dahir al-Arab and al-Beilonya, SDF media chief Ferhad Shami said via Twitter.

Shami said the attacks hit northern and eastern Syria, destroying a hospital in Kobani and a power station in Derik, as well as grain silos in Dahir al-Arab.

An eyewitness said CNN warplanes carried out airstrikes near the town of Tal Rifaat, in the northern countryside of Aleppo, which is controlled by the YPG.

Turkey’s defense minister on Sunday congratulated his country’s air force on the “successful” air operation, Anadolu said.

“Terrorists’ hideouts, bunkers, caves, tunnels and warehouses were successfully destroyed. We followed them closely. The so-called headquarters of the terrorist organization was also hit and destroyed,” Hulusi Akar said in a speech from the capital Ankara, Anadolu reported.

Both Turkey and the United States consider the PKK a terrorist organization. The two countries disagree over the status of the military wing of the YPG, which has been a US ally in the fight against ISIS in Syria, but Turkey sees it as the PKK’s Syrian extension.

A woman has been arrested on suspicion of committing the deadly attack in Istanbul last Sunday. According to Turkish authorities, she has been identified as a Syrian national trained by Kurdish militants.

Officials from the SDF, the YPG and the People’s Defense Forces (HPG), the armed wing of the PKK, have denied any involvement in the attack.

Meanwhile, Bulgarian prosecutors have charged five people with supporting terrorist acts in connection with the blast.

The five individuals have been charged with two crimes, Bulgarian supervisory prosecutor Anglel Kanev told reporters on Saturday. “A [is being in] an organized crime group for human trafficking and human trafficking. The other is, according to Article 108A of the Penal Code, generally at some point in time complicity in terrorist activities.”

All the suspects are foreigners and one has dual Bulgarian citizenship, Kanev said.

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