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Turkey continues its attacks in Iraq and Syria

iraq
File photo: Ruins of a medical centre in Skeiniya, northern Iraq, struck in a 2021 airstrike. Khairy Omar/Handout via REUTERS.

Turkey said it had destroyed 23 targets in overnight air strikes on Kurdish militants in northern Iraq and Syria, a further escalation of conflict south of its border.

The attacks were the latest by Turkey since nine Turkish soldiers were killed in clashes with Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants in northern Iraq on Friday.

The new strikes were on targets in northern Syria and the Metina, Gara, Hakurk and Qandil regions of northern Iraq, the defence ministry said late on Monday.

“Twenty-three targets were destroyed, including caves, shelters, tunnels, ammunition warehouses, supply materials and facilities used by the terrorist organisation,” it said in a statement accompanied by a photo of Turkish warplanes.

It said many militants had been “neutralised”, a term commonly used to be mean killed.

The PKK, designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, took up arms against the Turkish state in 1984. More than 40,000 people have been killed in the insurgency.

Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya also said on social media platform X that counter-terrorism police had detained 165 people in operations targeting the PKK across 28 Turkish provinces.

The operations had targeted people viewed as being in the militant group, having aided it or spread what he called PKK propaganda.

CONFLICT EVOLVING

The conflict with the PKK was long fought more in rural areas of southeastern Turkey but is now more focused on the mountains of northern Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, where PKK militants are based.

Iranian state media reported late on Monday that Iraq’s Kurdistan region was separately the scene of an attack by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards on what it said was the “spy headquarters” of Israel there.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said on Tuesday they had carried out the attack, and one in Syria, in defence of its sovereignty and security and to counter terrorism.

State media and other sources said on Monday that Turkey had carried out a wave of air strikes on electricity and oil infrastructure in Syria’s Kurdish-held northeast, putting several power stations out of service.

Turkey has carried out a series of military incursions and bombing campaigns in Syria against the Kurdish YPG militia, which it regards as a wing of the PKK.

Turkish authorities said on Monday police had detained 18 people for “praising terrorism” after Friday’s killing of the Turkish soldiers, and that a high-level PKK member was “neutralised” in northern Iraq.

There was no immediate reaction from the PKK, which seldom confirms attacks against it.

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