Eleven people were killed in Syria, including a journalist, after Turkish warplanes carried out an “air operation” in the country and neighboring Iraq late Saturday night, according to an official in the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces. There were no reports of casualties from the Iraqi side.
Turkey’s new cross-border offensive, dubbed “Operation Sword Claw” by the Defense Ministry, is targeting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the People’s Protection Units (YPG), and the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), the country reported. Anatolia news agency.
The crackdown follows a deadly explosion in the heart of Istanbul a week ago that Turkish officials said Kurdish separatists were responsible, which the Kurdish groups denied. That attack killed at least six people and injured at least 81 others.
The head of media for the Syrian Democratic Forces, Farhad Shami, said via Twitter that Turkish fighter jets launched air strikes on Kobani, the villages of Daher Al-Arab and Al-Baylouniyeh.
Al-Shami said that the strikes hit northern and eastern Syria, destroying a hospital in Kobani, a power station in Derik, and destroying grain silos in Daher Al-Arab.
An eyewitness told CNN that warplanes launched air strikes near the city of Tal Rifaat in the northern countryside of Aleppo, which is under the control of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units.
The Turkish Defense Minister congratulated his country’s air force on Sunday for the “successful” air operation, according to the Anadolu Agency.
Terrorists’ sanctuaries, hideouts, caves, tunnels and bunkers have been successfully destroyed. We followed them closely. Hulusi Akar said in a speech delivered from the capital, Ankara, that the alleged headquarters of the terrorist organization had been bombed and destroyed.
Both Turkey and the United States consider the PKK a terrorist organization. The two countries differ on the status of the military wing of the People’s Protection Units, which was an ally of the United States in the fight against ISIS in Syria, but Turkey considers it the Syrian extension of the PKK.
A woman was arrested on suspicion of carrying out the deadly blast in Istanbul last Sunday. She has been identified as a Syrian national who was trained by Kurdish militants, according to Turkish authorities.
Officials from the Syrian Democratic Forces, the People’s Protection Units and the People’s Defense Forces, the military wing of the PKK, denied involvement in the attack.
Meanwhile, Bulgarian prosecutors have indicted five people for supporting terrorist acts linked to the blast.
Bulgarian Prosecutor Angel Kanev told reporters on Saturday that charges had been filed against five individuals for two offences. “One [is being in] Organized crime group of human trafficking and trafficking. And the other, according to Article 108a of the Criminal Code, in general, helps to some extent at a certain moment terrorist activities.
Kanev said that all the suspects are foreigners, and one of them has dual Bulgarian citizenship.