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.

 

Horse-trading begins as Tunisia awaits formation of new government

Israel closes al-Aqsa mosque to worshipers in rare move

UK court says Libyan Abdul-Hakim Belhaj can sue over rendition

Syria accuses Turkey of ‘flagrant violation of sovereignty’

Global campaign to end female genital mutilation kicks off

US to examine troops exposed to chemicals in Iraq

African Union hits back at Somalia rape claims

New scare in Turkey as ‘suspect packages’ found

‘Insults against Netanyahu’ cause embarrassment to US

Kuwait online activist gets four years in jail for insulting judges

Heavy fighting in South Sudan sparks fears of humanitarian catastrophe

Sweden officially recognises State of Palestine

Egypt jails retired general for damaging national security

Gaza civil servants receive delayed salaries

After US criticism, Israel vows no concessions to Palestinians

Libya internationally recognised PM opens doors of dialogue with rivals

Huthi rebels seize stronghold of Muslim Brotherhood in central Yemen

Will Nidaa Tounes shun Islamists in Tunisia government formation?

Egypt starts work on buffer zone along border with Gaza

Turkey Sultan unveils new palace: Another break with symbols of secular state

Heavy toll as ‘Islamic State’ fights for control of Syria oil field

Iran President suffers fresh setback with rejection of Science Minister

Nuclear deal or no deal: ‘Red lines’ lay bare internal divisions in Iran

Heavy security in Mogadishu as UN chief meets Somalia president

Fighters from Free Syrian Army leave Turkey to join Kobane battle

Israel denies banning Palestinians sharing buses

Kurd fighters leave northern Iraq base for Syria deployment

Jordan requests UN emergency meeting over Israel settler expansion

Jerusalem Mayor visits Al-Aqsa mosque prompting anger

Tunisia reinforces commitment to democracy with ‘transparent’ elections

Turkey ‘decides’ for Kobane future: No Kurds, no Assad... Only Free Syrian Army!

Bahrain suspends Al-Wefaq weeks before parliamentary elections

Huge game changer in Tunisia: ‘In-credible’ failure of Islamist Ennahda Party

Libya PM in Khartoum for talks with Bashir

PKK hijack truck seizing explosive substance

Saudi lawyers get jail time for offensive tweets

Ennahda concedes defeat in Tunisia parliamentary elections

Syria rebels launch assault on regime-held city of Idlib

Iraq peshmerga wait for Turkey stance to depart for Syria

Sisi enacts military trials decree to cover ‘existential threat’

US calls for online war against ‘Islamic State’

Donors pledge $8 billion for Horn of Africa

Acid attacks in Iran: Deputy of Judiciary Chief to lead investigation

Lebanon army enters Islamist stronghold in Tripoli

Israel approves plans for 1,000 settler homes in East Jerusalem