Turkey hits Kurdish foes in retaliatory strike
ISTANBUL — Turkish fighter jets carried out dozens of airstrikes in northern Syria and Iraq on Sunday, in what Turkish officials called an anti-terrorism campaign to root out militants they accused of orchestrating a deadly bomb attack last week in Istanbul.
“The scoundrels are being held accountable for the treacherous attacks!” the Turkish Defense Ministry wrote on Twitter early Sunday, in a post with a photo of a warplane taking off. The strikes targeted shelters, tunnels, ammunition dumps and training camps, the ministry said.
Over two dozen people were reportedly killed, but different groups gave different numbers.
The Kurdish-led militia that administers northeastern Syria said 14 civilians and one fighter had been killed. The group, known as the Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, vowed to strike back against Turkey.
The new violence was an uptick in tensions between forces that have long hated each other and that both have close relationships with the United States.
In Syria, the United States worked with the SDF to fight the jihadis of the Islamic State group.
But that partnership has enraged Turkey, a U.S. ally in NATO, which views Syria’s Kurdish fighters as part of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which has fought a decadeslong insurgency against the Turkish state, aimed at gaining independence or greater autonomy. Turkey, the European Union and the United States consider the insurgent group, known as the PKK, a terrorist organization.
The Turkish Defense Ministry said its warplanes had hit 89 targets in northern Iraq and Syria, all military infrastructure connected to the PKK.