First Published: 2013-01-16

 

Turkey launches largest-scale campaign against Kurd rebels in Iraq

 

Raids come as long-running conflict threatens to derail peace talks between Ankara, jailed PKK leader Ocalan.

 

Middle East Online

Three-hour operation... more than 50 targets hit

DIYARBAKIR (Turkey) - Turkish jets struck more than 50 Kurdish rebel targets in northern Iraq in Ankara's largest-scale aerial campaign in recent years, military sources said Wednesday.

Northern Iraq is a base for the outlawed separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

"Sixteen F-16 fighter jets took off from their base in Diyarbakir in the southeast at around 2000 GMT Tuesday and bombed the (rebel) targets in Qandil Mountain in northern Iraq, 90 kilometres from the border," a military source said.

"More than 50 targets were hit in the three-hour operation."

Abdulrazzaq Bayiz, mayor of Senkasar region of Iraqi Kurdistan, confirmed the raid.

"Turkish aircraft targeted two villages in Senkasar at about 11 pm. They destroyed five houses in those villages. These attacks occurred over about 45 minutes, without any victims," he said.

Bunker-busters developed by Turkey's Scientific and Technological Research Council(TUBITAK) were used for the first time in the raid, Turkish sources said.

The jets safely returned to their bases after the operation, they added.

Turkey says around 2,000 Kurdish rebels are hiding in the mountainous region on the Iraqi side of the border.

The PKK, listed as a terrorist group by Turkey and much of the international community, took up arms for autonomy in the Kurdish-majority southeast in 1984, sparking an insurgency which has claimed more than 40,000 lives.

The raids, the first in several weeks, come as the long-running conflict between the rebels and Turkey appears to reignite and threatens to derail peace talks between Ankara and jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan with the aim of disarming the group.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday that the military operations against PKK bases would continue until the organisation laid down its arms.

"Our security forces will continue operations until the terrorist organisation lays down arms and ends its attacks," Erdogan said in televised remarks.

On Sunday, a senior PKK member was reported killed in a shootout in Turkey's Kurdish majority southeast, days after three women Kurdish activists were slain in Paris.

Turkish media reported last week that the weeks-long talks have produced a roadmap to end the three-decade-old Kurdish insurgency.

The reported roadmap has not been confirmed by either party.

 

Syrian migrant blows self up near German music festival

Arab summit in Mauritania cut to single day

12 killed in suicide bomb attack north of Baghdad

Turkey cracks down on journalists after coup

Iran destroys 100,000 ‘morally damaging’ satellite dishes

ISIS claims second German attack in a week

France calls for immediate humanitarian truce in Aleppo

Dozens dead in 5 days of Yemen fighting

Israel advances plans for 770 settlement homes

Libya conflict keeps 279,000 children out of school

After week of attacks, Germany warns of backlash against refugees

Iraqi charged with having 'trace' explosives in Poland

UN Syria envoy, US, Russian officials to hold talks Tuesday

Kuwait top court acquits IOC powerbroker Sheikh Ahmad

Air strikes, rebel fire kill 19 in Aleppo

Egypt policeman killed in Sinai attack claimed by IS

ISIS suicide bomber kills at least 15 in northern Baghdad

Turkey readies first cross-party rally to condemn coup

Libya loyalists seize ISIS bomb factory in Sirte

Tunisia dissident, Mohsen Marzouk, opens new party congress

Air raids jeopardise much-needed medical care in Aleppo

Saudi delegation in Israel to promote stalled peace initiative

At least 61 people dead as ISIS claims twin blasts in Kabul

Iraq PM seeks to speed up death penalty implementation

Munich shooting had 'obvious link' to Breivik, not ISIS

EgyptAir flight broke up in midair after fire, evidence suggests

Palestinian village could soon cease to exist

Coalition warplanes strike Qaeda positions in southern Yemen

Turkey extends police powers, shutters over 1,000 private schools

Libya ‘NATO revolutionaries’ urge fight against French troops

Germany probes motives of 'lone' Munich mass killer

Russian warplanes targeted US, British outpost in Syria

Bodies of 14 'executed' people found in Libya's Benghazi

UN to help Turkey bolster tourism sector

France to supply weapons to Iraqi army

Turkey tensions fester in Germany

Israel official on first visit to Chad in 40 years

EU condemns 'unacceptable' Turkey purges

Iran stops 'terrorist infiltration' from Turkey

Moscow restarts air travel to Turkey

Assad says Erdogan is 'implementing his own extremist agenda'

Egypt's Sisi says 'serious efforts' made in Palestine peace process

43 civilians dead as regime bombards rebel-held areas in Syria

UN pleads for weekly 48-hour truce in Syria's Aleppo

Kuwait upholds death for Iran spy cell 'mastermind'