Turkey launched on Sunday Operation Claw-Sword air raids against outlawed Kurdish militants in Iraq and Syria almost a week after a deadly blast in central Istanbul, the defence minister said.
“We are starting Operation Claw-Sword from now on,” Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said before the planes left their bases to hit the targets. A defence ministry statement said he directed the offensive from the air force operations centre with top commanders.
The defence ministry earlier said the raids targeted bases of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Ankara considers an extension of the PKK.
The attacks come days after Ankara blamed the PKK for a deadly bombing in central Istanbul last week which killed six people and wounded 81.
The PKK, which has waged an insurgency in Turkey for decades, and the YPG have both denied any involvement in the attack.
“Terrorists’ shelters, bunkers and caves were cracked down,” Akar said.
“The claws of our Turkish armed forces were once again on the top of the terrorists.”