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.

 

Saudi Arabia vows to cover UN aid appeal for Yemen

'Differences' emerge in Libya peace talks

Israel pledges to transfer frozen taxes to Palestinian Authority

Unidentified gunman opens fire on pro-Kurdish party office in Turkey

Iraq PM's spokesman resigns over pro-Saddam song

Tunisia prevents departure of more than 12,000 would-be jihadists

Iraqi forces kill Hussein deputy in Salahuddin province

Iraq massacre site turns into memorial

Israeli coalition talks approaching deadline

Turkish PM condemns EU resolution on Armenian genocide

Tehran calls for immediate Yemen peace talks

Assad accuses Turkey of torpedoing UN Aleppo truce plan

New round of Libya rival talks in Morocco

EU urged to label Israeli West bank products

General Dempsey: Military option on Iran 'intact'

UN chief calls for immediate Yemen ceasefire

Abadi to Iran: We welcome your help as long as you respect Iraq sovereignty

Anger in Indonesia as Saudi Arabia executes second woman

France jihadist attacks fuel unprecedented rise in Islamophobia

Turkey mine chief: ‘I am not a murderer’

France sees progress in Rafale jet negotiations with UAE

Lebanese TV contempt trial opens at slain Hariri tribunal

Fresh round of Iran nuclear talks April 22-23 in Vienna

Yemen calls on renegade army units to drop support for Huthis

UN envoy condemns Libya air strike as 'unacceptable'

African migrants’ hope of reaching Europe dashed

Armenian senior advisor to Turkish PM retires

Egypt to demolish ousted Mubarak’s party HQ

Slow turnout in Sudan polls

UN peace envoy to Yemen quits

Reconquest of all of Anbar remains out of reach for now

Iran holds Obama 'accountable' for fate of nuclear agreement

Arab coalition mulls large-scale manoeuvre in preparation for ‘ground assault’

Libya appeals for Russia support over arms embargo

Turkey vows to brush off any EU genocide decision

Bashir heads toward widely expected victory with ‘empty ballot boxes’

Rebels in southern Syria reject all forms of cooperation with Qaeda affiliate

21 million children in MENA region at risk of having no education

Two military cadets killed in Egypt bombing

Egypt, Saudi consider holding joint military exercise

Kerry 'confident' US can reach Iran nuclear deal

Libya rival talks in Algiers 'great success'

World powers up pressure on Yemen rebels

HRW cites 'strong' evidence of Syria regime chemical attacks

UN Security Council blacklists Houthi leaders