Friday, December 8, 2023

Turkey conducts new airstrikes on PKK targets in northern Iraq

Turkish forces have launched new air raids in northern Iraq and destroyed 16 targets of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the Turkish Ministry of National Defence has confirmed.

The operations were conducted in the Metina, Gara, Hakurk, Qandil and Asos regions at 8pm (17:00 GMT) on Tuesday, the ministry said, adding that every measure was taken to avoid harm to civilians and the environment.

Two attackers detonated a bomb in front of Turkish government buildings in Ankara on Sunday, leaving both of them dead and two police officers wounded.

The PKK claimed responsibility for the attack, prompting Turkish strikes on the group’s targets in northern Iraq later on Sunday.

The PKK, listed as a “terrorist group” by Turkey and its Western allies, has been waging attacks since 1984, killing tens of thousands of people.

A series of successive Turkish military operations has pushed the group back into neighbouring Iraq.

The PKK attack on Sunday coincided with the opening of Turkey’s parliament session, during which lawmakers will be asked to ratify Sweden’s membership in the NATO military alliance.

Turkey’s ratification has been held up by its anger over the refusal by the Swedish police to ban marches by the PKK and their supporters in Stockholm.

Some analysts believe the PKK may be trying to block the ratification because it would herald an improvement in Turkey’s tense ties with the United States.

Turkey is also trying to get the US to drop its support for Kurdish fighters from the YPG group in Syria, a policy shift Ankara may expect in return for its ratification.

Washington relied on the YPG to fight the ISIL (ISIS) group in the region. But Ankara views the YPG as a sister organisation of the PKK.

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