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.

 

Push on IS capital Raqqa gathers momentum

Ailing Bouteflika 'doing well' despite health scare

Iraq forces look to build floating bridge in Mosul

Boosting presidental powers will 'stabilise' Turkey, says PM

Film on Syria's White Helmets wins Academy Award

Shia leadership struggle ahead after Khamenei and Sistani

Morocco to withdraw from Western Sahara tension zone

The huge risks of Trump’s call to ‘take’ Iraqi oil

Trump set to zero in on Hezbollah in bid to curb Iran

Time bomb of unemployment among Arab youth

Woman journalist says targeted by hardliners in Sudan

Iran's Ahmadinejad writes open letter to Trump

Iran's Rouhani to run for re-election

Kurdish reporter killed while covering Mosul battle

Libya govt secures ceasefire after Tripoli clashes

Saudi Foreign Minister in landmark visit to Iraq

Iraqi forces push deeper into west Mosul

Suicide attacks kill 42 in Syria's Homs

Top US commander in secret Syria trip

Israel to deny Human Rights Watch visas for being ‘biased’

UN considers Syria sanctions over chemical attacks

Saudi Comic-Con slammed as ‘sin’ in online backlash

Jordanians protest government price hikes

Baghdad coordinated anti-IS airstrikes with Damascus says source

New Hamas Gaza leader makes first public appearance

Palestinian protestors clash with Israeli soldiers in West Bank

Jordanian F-16 crashes in Saudi, pilot survives

Suicide bomb attack on rebels kills 51 near Al-Bab

Iraqi PM says air force strikes IS targets in Syria

Iraqi forces enter IS-held west Mosul

UN slams light sentence for Israeli soldier

Saudi king seeks investment on rare Asia tour

UN Syria peace talks begin in Geneva

Saudi minister discusses hajj with Iran

136 Turkish diplomats, soldiers seek German asylum since coup

New Hamas ‘strongman’ could spell fresh Israeli conflict

Suicide car bomb kills eight outside Yemen army base

Fired Turkish academics protest ‘unjust’ dismissals

Iraqi forces jovial after Mosul airport entry

Syrian rebels announce capture of flashpoint town from IS

Iraqi forces enter IS-held Mosul airport

Swedish citizen jailed for IS Facebook post

Somalia names new prime minister

Netanyahu backs pardon for Israel soldier who shot Palestinian

UN envoy meets Syrian rivals, hopes of breakthrough slim