ISTANBUL : Turkey launched deadly airstrikes over northern regions of Syria and Iraq targeting Kurdish groups that Ankara holds responsible for the last week’s bomb attack in Istanbul.
Turkish Defense Ministry yesterday, November 20, said in a statement that warplanes attacked bases of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, and the Syrian People’s Protection Units, or YPG. The Ministry cited Turkey’s right to self-defense under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter in launching an operation. It said it was targeting areas used as a base by terrorists in their attacks on our country.
Syrian Kurdish officials have alleged civilian deaths from the air attacks. The airstrikes came after a bomb rocked a bustling avenue in the heart of Istanbul on November 13, killing six people and injuring over 80 others.
Turkish authorities blamed the attack on the PKK and its Syrian affiliate the YPG. The Kurdish militant groups have, however, denied involvement.
Ankara and Washington both consider the PKK a terror group, but disagree on the status of the YPG. Under the banner of the Syrian Democratic Forces, the YPG has been allied with the United States in the fight against the Islamic State group in Syria. The PKK has fought an armed insurgency in Turkey since 1984.