Turkey attacks Kurdish militia & ISIS positions – PM's office
The Turkish PM’s office announced their forces attacked several militant Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) targets and Islamic State positions. Kurdish fighters, who have been battling the jihadists for months, say the truce with Turkey is now meaningless.
The Turkish PM’s office has said their fighter jets bombed seven militant Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) targets in Northern Iraq, AFP reported.
Turkey also launched simultaneous ground attacks against the PKK and Islamic State in northern Syria, Reuters said, citing the PM’s office.
“Strikes were carried out on targets of the Daesh (Islamic State) terror group in Syria and the PKK terror group in northern Iraq,” Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s office said in a statement.
Prime Minister Davutoglu told reporters that some 590 suspected members of IS and PKK and other militant groups had been arrested in raids across Turkey that began on Friday, according to AFP.
The airstrikes targeted PKK warehouses, logistics points, living quarters and storage buildings, Turkish authorities said in a statement.
The overnight air assault was the first Turkish strike against Kurds in northern Iraq since a peace deal between Ankara and the PKK separatists was announced in 2013.
"At around 11:00 pm (2000 GMT) tonight, Turkish warplanes started bombing our positions near the border, accompanied by heavy artillery shelling," PKK spokesman in Iraq, Bakhtiar Dogan, confirmed to AFP.
Among the bombarded locations was the stronghold of PKK's military leadership at Mount Kandil.
The Kurdistan Workers Party announced in its website that after last night's airstrikes and ground military attacks, the truce with Turkey has “no meaning anymore.”
On Friday, Ankara announced joining the anti-ISIS coalition by providing jets and airbases as part of an agreement with the US.
The move was due to the growing threat to Turkey’s security posed by the jihadists, the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement.
The Kurdistan Workers' Party has been fighting Turkey for autonomy since 1984. The Turks and their NATO allies list the group as a terrorist organization.
Turkish artillery also shelled Islamic State and PKK positions from across the border, Ankara said.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed on Friday that Ankara had agreed to let the US use the Incirlik air base near the city of Adana in southern Turkey.
"In our phone call with Obama, we reiterated our determination in the struggle against the separatist organization [Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)] and the Islamic State," Erdogan told reporters on Friday. "We took the first step last night."
A new eruption of violence in Turkey was sparked by an IS suicide bombing in the southeastern Turkish city of Suruc on Monday that killed 32 people, most of whom were Kurdish nationals. The Kurds have accused the Turkish authorities of a laissez-faire approach towards Islamic State.
A series of terror acts targeting Turkish police, carried out by Kurdish activists this week, claimed the lives of two Turkish law enforcers near the mainly Kurdish city of Sanliurfa close to the Syrian border.
On Friday, suspected PKK militant threw a small bomb into a police station in Bismil, wounding seven police officers.
The Kurdish Peshmerga militia has been fighting IS for some time, protecting areas inhabited by Kurd nationals in so-called Kurdistan.
The rapid advance of Islamic State has prompted the Kurds to reinforce troops on the frontline in their fight against the extremists.
The Kurds are one of the largest ethnic groups in the world, but they don’t have their own state. Kurdistan encompasses parts of Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria. Of the four regions, Iraqi Kurdistan has made the most progress in defining its status politically and striving for independence.