Monday 24 October 2016

Turkish jets 'hit IS targets in Syria and Kurd militants in Iraq'

Published 25/07/2015 | 03:32

Turkish army tanks hold positions near the border with Syria, in the outskirts of the village of Elbeyi (AP)
Turkish army tanks hold positions near the border with Syria, in the outskirts of the village of Elbeyi (AP)

Turkish jets struck camps belonging to Kurdish militants in northern Iraq and Islamic State positions in Syria.

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The strikes in Iraq targeted the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, whose affiliates have been effective in battling the Islamic State group. The strikes further complicate the US-led war against the extremists, which has relied on Kurdish ground forces making gains in Iraq and Syria.

A spokesman in Iraq for the PKK, which has been fighting Turkey for autonomy since 1984 and is considered a terrorist organisation by Ankara and its allies, said the strikes spelled the end of a peace deal announced in 2013.

"Turkey has basically ended the ceasefire," the PKK's Zagros Hiwa said. The first wave of strikes launched overnight did not appear to cause casualties.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced a few hours later that he had ordered "a third wave" of raids against the IS in Syria and a "second wave" of strikes against the PKK in northern Iraq - which were ongoing.

"Turkey's operations will, if needed, continue until the terror organisations' command centres, all locations where they plan (attacks) against Turkey and all depots used to store arms to be used against Turkey are destroyed," Mr Davutoglu said.

He accused the PKK of not keeping a pledge to withdraw armed fighters from Turkish territory and to disarm.

The government statement earlier said the first strikes targeted seven areas including the Qandil mountains, where the PKK's command is based. The statement did not detail Islamic State targets but described the airstrikes in both Syria and Iraq as being "effective".

y's military also shelled IS and PKK positions in Syria from across the Turkish border, the government said. It vowed to press ahead with operations against the PKK and IS, saying it was "determined to take all steps to ensure peace and security for our people".

Turkish police meanwhile proceeded with a major operation against the I S, the PKK and the far-left DHKP-C for a second day. Close to 600 people were detained in raids in 22 provinces, Mr Davutoglu said.

Press Association

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