Turkish military carries out new airstrikes against militants in Iraq, Syria: report

Kurdish Syrian firemen put out a blaze at a power station in Qamishli which was reportedly targeted by Turkish drones on January 15, 2024 as Turkey carried out another series of airstrikes against Kurdish sites in northeastern Syria and northern Iraq in what Ankara said was a response for the deaths of nine Turkish soldiers. (Photo by Delil SOULEIMAN / AFP)

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

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

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

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

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

The PKK, designated a terrorist group by Turkey and much of the international community, took up arms against the Turkish state in 1984. More than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

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.

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.

Meanwhile, a Kurdish official who spoke to London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper held the US administration and Russia responsible for the escalation in Turkish attacks in northeast Syria, demanding an intervention of the UN Security Council and the implementation of international ceasefire resolutions.

Badran Jia-Kurd, deputy co-chair of the Executive Council of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES), also known as Rojava, condemned the US and Russia’s silence regarding the repeated Turkish attacks, adding that Washington and Moscow must pressure Turkey to stop its aggression.

Jia-Kurd said the US and Russian armies are deployed in these areas under military agreements to reduce the escalation.

In a similar development, Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya also said on X that counterterrorism police had detained 165 people in operations targeting the PKK across 28 Turkish provinces.

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

In October Turkey targeted dozens of facilities and military sites in northern Syria after an attack on the interior ministry in Ankara, claimed by the PKK.

Since 2016 Turkey has carried out successive ground operations to expel Kurdish forces from border areas of northern Syria.

Syria’s war has killed more than half a million people since it erupted in 2011 after Damascus brutally cracked down on anti-government protests, spiraling into a devastating war involving foreign armies and jihadists.

Take a second to support Stockholm Center for Freedom on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!