Turkey hits Kurdish militants with airstrikes days after Istanbul bombing

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Turkey targeted Kurdish militants in northern Syria and Iraq on Sunday with a series of airstrikes, days after a bombing killed six people in Istanbul.

Military bases of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, and Syrian People’s Protection Units, or YPG, were hit by the attacks, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said in a statement.

“Terrorist hideouts, bunkers, caves, tunnels and warehouses were destroyed with great success,” Akar said. “The so-called headquarters of the terrorist organization was also hit with direct hits and destroyed.”

People inspect a site damaged by Turkish airstrikes that hit a power station in Taql Baql village, Hasakeh province, Syria, Sunday, November 20, 2022.

People inspect a site damaged by Turkish airstrikes that hit a power station in Taql Baql village, Hasakeh province, Syria, Sunday, November 20, 2022.
(TBEN Photo/Baderkhan Ahmad)

Turkish officials blamed the bombings in Istanbul last Sunday, which killed six people and injured dozens more, on the PKK and YPG. Both groups have denied involvement.

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Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin tweeted that “it’s time for Istiklal”, a reference to the avenue where the bombing took place.

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Bulgarian prosecutors have arrested five people involved in the bombing, according to Reuters: three men of Moldovan descent and a man and woman of Syrian-Kurdish descent.

People leave the area after an explosion on the popular pedestrian street Istiklal Avenue Sunday, Istanbul, Sunday, November 13, 2022.

People leave the area after an explosion on the popular pedestrian street Istiklal Avenue Sunday, Istanbul, Sunday, November 13, 2022.
(Ismail Coskun/IHA via TBEN)

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The PKK, which has been fighting an insurgency in Turkey since 1984, is considered a terrorist group by both Turkey and the United States, although the US has joined the YPG in fighting ISIS in Syria.

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“We are determined, determined and able to save our country and our nation from the plague of terror that has plagued our country and our nation for 40 years,” Akar said on Sunday.

The The Bharat Express News contributed to this report.