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Turkiye hits targets in Iraq, threatens Syria

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ISTANBUL: Turkiye on Wednesday launched fresh strikes against Kurdish targets in Iraq and warned of more intense cross-border air raids after concluding that militants who staged a weekend attack in Ankara came from Syria.

Turkiye convened a national security meeting involving top defence and intelligence chiefs to prepare its response to Sunday’s attack on the capital’s government district.

Police shot dead one of the assailants while the other died in an apparent suicide blast outside Turkiye’s interior ministry that injured two security officers.

A branch of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) claimed responsibility for the first bombing to hit Ankara since 2016.

“It has become clear that the two terrorists came from Syria and were trained there,” Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said in televised comments. “From now on, all infrastructure, large facilities and energy facilities belonging to (armed Kurdish groups) in Iraq and Syria are legitimate targets for our security forces,” Fidan added.

“I recommend that third parties stay away from these facilities.” Turkiye conducted air raids against PKK rear bases in the northern mountains of Iraq hours after Sunday’s attack.

The defence ministry said it had staged fresh raid on Wednesday that “neutralised a large number of terrorists” in five districts of Iraq. Iraqi Defence Minister Thabet al-Abbasi was expected in Ankara on Thursday for talks with counterpart Yasar Guler as tensions soared.

‘War crime’

Fidan’s comments suggest that Turkiye could intensify drone and artillery strikes beyond those it has been routinely staging in both Syria and Iraq in the past decade.

Turkish media reported on Wednesday that the MIT intelligence agency had conducted an operation in Syria killing one of the suspected masterminds of an Istanbul bombing that claimed six lives in November of last year.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed that an “intelligence official” in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of north-eastern Syria was killed on Tuesday.

Ankara has military bases and supports groups fighting both regime forces and the Kurds in Syria.

Published in Dawn, October 5th, 2023


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