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Turkey launches airstrikes in northern Syria


BEIRUT — Turkey launched airstrikes over several towns in northern Syria on Saturday, US-backed Kurdish forces reported.

The airstrikes came a week after a bomb rocked a busy avenue in the heart of Istanbul, killing six people and injuring more than 80 others. Turkish authorities have blamed the attack on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, as well as Syrian Kurdish groups affiliated with it. Kurdish militant groups, however, have denied any involvement.

Ankara and Washington both consider the PKK a terrorist group, but disagree on the status of Syrian Kurdish groups, which have allied with the United States in the fight against the Islamic State group in Syria.

The airstrikes targeted Kobani, a strategic town near the Turkish border that Ankara had previously tried to overtake in its plan to establish a “safe zone” along northern Syria. SDF spokesman Farhad Shami added in a tweet that two villages heavily populated by displaced people were under Turkish shelling.

Syrian opposition media reported that the Turkish airstrikes targeted positions of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces.

No casualties were reported.

In neighboring Iraq, the US Consulate General in Erbil said it was monitoring “credible open source reports” of possible Turkish military action in northern Syria and northern Iraq in the coming days. .

The Kurdish-led authority in northeastern Syria said on Saturday that if Turkey attacks, then fighters in the region have “the right to resist and defend our regions in a major way that will drag the region in a long war”.

Turkey has launched three major cross-border operations in Syria since 2016 and already controls some northern territories.


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