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12:54 am - Monday November 20, 2017

Turkish warplanes strike Kurdish militants in Syria, Iraq’s Sinjar

Agencies, ISTANBUL/BEIRUT

Turkish warplanes bombed Kurdish militants in Iraq’s Sinjar region and in northeastern Syria today, killing at least 18 fighters and officials in a widening campaign against groups affiliated with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

The air strikes in Syria targeted the YPG – a key component of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which are backed by the United States and have been closing in on the Islamic State bastion of Raqqa. It showed the challenges facing the US-led campaign to defeat Islamic State in Syria and risked increased tension between NATO allies Washington and Ankara over Kurdish combatants who have been crucial in driving back the jihadists.

At least 18 YPG fighters and media officials were killed in today’s air raids, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group reported. There was no immediate casualty report from the YPG. The Turkish military said the two regions it struck had become “terror hubs” and the aim of the bombardment was to prevent the PKK from sending weapons and explosives for attacks inside Turkey.

“To destroy these terror hubs which threaten the security, unity and integrity of our country and our nation and as part of our rights based on international law, air strikes have been carried out … and terrorist targets have been struck with success,” the Turkish army said in a statement. The aerial bombardment was carried out around 2 a.m. local time (0430 IST), it added. The YPG said in a statement its headquarters in Mount Karachok near Syria’s frontier with Turkey had been hit, including a media centre, a local radio station, communications facilities and military institutions.

 

Posted in: World

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