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.

 

Trump seeks Israeli-Palestinian peace, lashes out at Iran again

Iran’s reformists sweep to power across major cities

Turkey's alleged coup ringleaders stand trial

Israel makes concessions to Palestinians 'at Trump's request'

Ivanka hales Saudi progress on women’s rights

Istanbul demolishes nightclub targeted in New Year attack

WHO says 315 cholera deaths in Yemen in under one month

Tunisia police use tear gas on protesters

Palestinians protest for hunger-striking prisoners

Palestinians protest for hunger-striking prisoners

GCC and Arab League call for Yemen unity

Looming showdown between Egypt’s president, judges

Netanyahu says will discuss peace efforts with Trump

Bahrain sentences Shiite cleric to suspended jail term

Trump scandals no issue for Saudi says minister

Saudi women celebrate easing of guardianship system, call for more freedoms

Hamas sentences three to death for commander assassination

Rouhani faces fight with hardliners in US, Iran after election win

Trump to urge Muslim leaders to fight extremism in major speech

Trump tells Sisi he will soon visit Egypt

US, Saudi agree arms deals worth almost $110 billion

Iran's Rouhani wins re-election

Egypt marks MS804 crash with ceremony and no information

Trump lands in Riyadh on first foreign tour

IS bombing kills 35 in Iraq

US Pentagon plans to 'annihilate' IS

Dictator's nephew apologises to Tunisia for corruption

Trump heads to Saudi Arabia as domestic scandals mount

Ebrahim Raisi: hardline challenger in Iran

US and Saudi Arabia blacklist Hezbollah 'terrorist'

UN envoy slams deadly attack in Libya's south

Syria, allies condemn attack by US-led coalition

Iranians vote to choose their president

Festive mood as Iranians flock to polls

Turkey takes aim at opposition journalists in continuing crackdown

Syria talks enter final day as tensions simmer over coalition strike

Hassan Rouhani: moderate cleric open to the world

Sweden drops probe against Julian Assange

EU's Juncker, Tusk to meet Turkey's Erdogan Thursday in Brussels

Nearly 23,500 Yemen cholera cases in three weeks

Israel arrests 2 after deadly West Bank clash

Sudan's Bashir to skip Trump-Muslim summit for 'personal reasons'

Saudi looks to assert regional leadership against Iran

Syrian warring sides agree to new UN process on constitution

US-led warplanes hit Syria pro-regime forces