Turkiye launches airstrikes over northern Syria

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BEIRUT – Turkey launched airstrikes on several towns in northern Syria on Saturday, according to US-backed Kurdish-led forces.

The airstrikes came a week after a bomb exploded in the heart of Istanbul, killing six people and injuring over 80 others.

The attack was blamed on the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Syrian Kurdish groups affiliated with it, according to Turkish authorities. Kurdish militant groups, on the other hand, have denied any involvement.

Both Ankara and Washington consider the PKK to be a terrorist organization, but they disagree on the status of Syrian Kurdish groups that have allied with the US in the fight against the Daesh group in Syria.

Following the strikes, Turkey’s defense ministry tweeted a photo of a fighter plane with the caption, “The treacherous attacks of the scoundrels are being held accountable.”

The airstrikes were aimed at Kobani, a strategic town near the Turkish border that Ankara had previously attempted to take over as part of its plans to establish a “safe zone” along northern Syria’s border. In a tweet, SDF spokesperson Farhad Shami added that two villages heavily populated with displaced people were being bombarded by Turkey. He claimed that the strikes resulted in “deaths and injuries.”

According to Syrian opposition media, Turkish airstrikes targeted positions of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces.
According to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, the strikes also hit Syrian army positions, killing at least 12 people, including SDF and Syrian army soldiers.

According to the observatory, Turkish warplanes carried out approximately 25 air strikes on sites in the countryside of Aleppo, Raqqa, and Hasakah.

The US Consulate General in Irbil in neighboring Iraq said it is monitoring “credible open-source reports” of potential Turkish military action in northern Syria and northern Iraq in the coming days.

The Kurdish-led authority in northeast Syria said on Saturday that if Turkiye attacks, fighters in the region will have “the right to resist and defend our areas in a major way, which will plunge the region into a long war.”

Since 2016, Turkiye has launched three major cross-border operations into Syria, and it already controls some territory in the north.

Source: AP

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