Operation Claw-Sword targets Kurdish militant bases

November 20, 2022
Turkish jet takes off. — courtesy Turkish Defense Ministry
Turkish jet takes off. — courtesy Turkish Defense Ministry

ANKARA — Turkey has launched air-raids on Kurdish targets in Iraq and Syria, a week after a bombing in Istanbul which it blames on Kurdish militants.

The raids — dubbed Operation Claw-Sword — struck Kurdish bases which were being used to launch attacks on Turkey, the Defense Ministry said.

A Syrian-Kurdish spokesperson said two villages populated with internally displaced people were hit.

The banned Kurdish PKK group denies carrying out the Istanbul attack.

As the air-raids began, the Turkish Defense Ministry tweeted that the “hour of reckoning” had arrived, alongside a picture of a fighter plane taking off and footage of an explosion.

“Terrorists’ shelters, bunkers, caves, tunnels, and warehouses were successfully destroyed,” said Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar.

Kurdish-led forces in Syria said the city of Kobane was hit as well as two densely populated villages. Unconfirmed reports say there are a number of casualties.

The raids come a week after a bombing on one of Istanbul’s busiest streets which killed six people and injured more than 80.

Turkish authorities blamed the bombing on the Kurdish militant group the PKK, which Turkey, the EU and US regard as a terrorist organization.

However, the PKK said it would not “directly target civilians” and denied responsibility.

Authorities have arrested dozens of people in connection with the attack including a Syrian woman who they say planted the bomb.

Before the arrest, the Turkish justice minister said a bag had exploded near a bench after a woman sat there for forty minutes. Five people have also been charged in Bulgaria over the attack, according to the AFP news agency.

Kurdish militants have been battling for decades to achieve Kurdish self-rule in south-east Turkey.

In recent years, Turkey has conducted a number of cross-border operations targeting Kurdish groups based in northern Iraq and Syria, aiming to prevent attacks on Turkish territory. — BBC

November 20, 2022
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