In response to the Istanbul attack, Turkey strikes northern Iraq and Syria – RT in French
Turkey launched an air operation on the night of November 20 in northern Iraq and Syria targeting several regions under the control of Syrian Kurdish forces and the PKK, accused by Ankara of the recent attack in Istanbul.
Dubbed “Sword Claw”, the new military operation launched by Ankara on the night of November 20 aims to “eliminate terrorist attacks from northern Iraq and Syria, ensure border security and eliminate terrorism at its source” , the Turkish Defense Ministry said in a statement.
The hour of accounts has come!”, he launched in the night on Twitter, before continuing: “The bastards will have to be held accountable for their perfidious attacks.”
The Turkish authorities accuse the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) of being behind the recent attack that shook Istanbul. On November 13, on a shopping street in the former Ottoman capital, a bomb explosion killed six people and injured more than 80 others. Supported by Washington, the two Kurdish organizations rejected the accusations and denied any involvement in the attack.
Several Syrian soldiers killed
The Turkish army carried out nearly 25 airstrikes in the Syrian provinces of Raqa and Hassaké (north-east) and Aleppo (north), killing at least nine Kurdish forces. For its part, quoting a military source, the Syrian news agency SANA reported on 20 November that “a certain number of soldiers [syriens] martyred, following an attack carried out this morning by the Turkish occupation forces against safe areas and military positions in the two suburbs of Hassaké and Aleppo”.
According to AFP, the strikes mainly targeted the city of Kobané (north) and its surroundings, near the Turkish border, in particular grain silos near Al-Malikiyah (north-east) and a power station south of this province, located in areas under the control of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF, an armed coalition dominated by the Kurds).
They completely destroyed the fourth power station of Taql Bakl, near Al-Malikiyah in the south of the province of Hassaké, reported an AFP photographer, who saw corpses on the morning of November 20, near ‘a car on the spot, and big holes in the ground. According to a local resident, Turkish aircraft bombed the plant several times. “We were working to save the wounded and recover the bodies when the plane bombed again, so we fled,” he told the news agency.
“Kobane, the city that defeated the Islamic State, is the target of bombardments by the air force of the Turkish occupation”, announced Farhad Shami, a spokesman for the SDF, who had denied any link with the attack. . He reported that two SDF members were killed in Al-Malikiyah, and four Syrian soldiers in northern Aleppo.
‘No casualties’ in Iraq
The commander-in-chief of the SDF, Mazloum Abdi, denounced the “aggressive and barbaric” bombardments. “The Turkish bombardment of our areas threatens the entire region. This bombardment serves no party. We are doing everything to avoid a major catastrophe. If war breaks out, everyone will be affected,” he tweeted.
Turkish bombing of our safe areas threatens the whole region.
This bombing is not in favor of any party.
We are making every effort to avoid a major catastrophe. If war erupts, all will be affected. (1)
— Mazloum Abdî مظلوم عبدي (@MazloumAbdi) November 19, 2022
On the other hand, the Turkish strikes have “no casualties” in northern Iraq, said an official of the regional government of Iraqi Kurdistan to AFP. “The Turks have targeted at least eight areas where there are PKK bases without causing any civilian casualties”, assured this official, citing the mountainous regions of “Shingal, Rawanduz, Bradost, Qandil, Asos, Soran, Rania and Qaladzi” , located between Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Autonomous Kurdistan, and the Iranian border. According to a PKK spokesman, “these operations are not new, they have been going on continuously for seven months.” Still according to him, “the Turkish army carried out 3,694 bombardments on the soil of Iraqi Kurdistan” during this period.
The day after the attack in a busy shopping street in Istanbul, the Turkish authorities accused a young woman, presented as a Syrian national, of having planted the bomb. According to Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu, “the order for the attack was given from Kobané”, a city controlled by Kurdish forces.
The US State Department announced on November 18 that it feared “a possible military action by Turkey”, advising its nationals not to go to northern Syria and Iraq. Turkey, whose soldiers are present in areas of northern Syria, has been threatening since May to launch a major offensive against the FDS, which it considers to be “terrorists”. Ankara says it wants to create a 30 kilometer wide “security zone” on its southern border.
RT All Fr Trans