Turkey-US discuss Turkish airstrikes in Iraq-Syria

Remigio Civitarese
Mag 6, 2017

The Turksih military added that they retaliated against attacks carried out from areas controlled by the YPG in Syria, targeting two military outposts in the Turkish city of Hatay.

Turkish military jets carried out airstrikes against Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) fighters in northern Iraq and northeast Syria, killing at least 24 people, Turkey's state-run Anadolu News said.

Meanwhile, activists said intense battles are taking place between the Kurdish People Protection Units (YPG) and the Turkish army, during an attempt of ground intrusion by the Turkish forces in northern Syria.

Turkish military jets carried out strikes against USA -backed Kurdish fighters in northern Iraq and northeast Syria, killing at least 70 people, according to a Turkish military statement.

A Turkish military statement said the pre-dawn strikes hit targets on the Sinjar Mountain in northern Iraq and also in a mountainous region in Syria.

Designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, the PKK has waged a three-decade insurgency against the Turkish state for Kurdish autonomy.

The YPG makes up the bulk of the Syrian Democratic Forces, a US-backed alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters taking on IS jihadists in Syria.

"It's unthinkable that we are fighting on a front as important as (Islamic State group bastion) Raqa while Turkish planes bomb us in the back", the commander said. The peshmerga ministry described the attack as "painful and unacceptable" but blamed it on the PKK presence.

While the air raids on Syria appeared to hit their intended target, the bombardment in Iraq killed members of Kurdish security forces that are typically allied with Ankara.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan defended the air strikes, telling Reuters: "We are obliged to take measures".

In Damascus, meanwhile, officials denounced new USA sanctions imposed by the Trump administration on 271 people linked to the Syrian agency said to be responsible for producing non-conventional weapons. Turkey's General Staff said about 70 Kurdish fighters were killed as a result of the airstrikes. The U.S. has backed the YPG with advice and training as part of the Syrian Democratic Forces and "we will continue that support". We told them to pull their troops 20-30km south away from our borders.

"We are very concerned, deeply concerned, that Turkey conducted airstrikes earlier today in northern Syria as well as northern Iraq without proper coordination with either the United States or the broader global coalition to defeat ISIS", State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters.

The operation showed the challenges facing the US -led campaign to defeat Islamic State in Syria and risked increasing tension between North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies Washington and Ankara over Kurdish combatants who have been crucial in driving back the jihadists. But a senior USA official said it was about 20 minutes. The dead were killed in a first round of raids in Idlib province.

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