A week after a bombing in Istanbul killed 6 and wounded 81, Turkey on Sunday (November 20) launched airstrikes over northern regions of Syria and Iraq killing dozens.
Turkish Defense Ministry said the strikes targeted Kurdish groups that Ankara holds responsible for a bomb attack in Istanbul.
What happened: Warplanes attacked bases of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), and the Syrian People's Protection Units (YPG), the ministry said in a statement.
Hesap zamanı!— T.C. Millî Savunma Bakanlığı (@tcsavunma) November 19, 2022
Alçaklardan hain saldırıların hesabı soruluyor! 🇹🇷 pic.twitter.com/pnEbFDkOF7
The raids in northern and northeastern Syria killed at least 31 people, AFP reported quoting Britain-based war monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Operation Claw-Sword: The offensive codenamed Operation Claw-Sword targeted PKK bases in northern Iraq's mountainous regions of Kandil, Asos, and Hakurk, and bases of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), in Ayn al-Arab, Tal Rifaat, Jazira and Derik regions in Syria, AFP reported quoting the ministry.
"Air Operation Claw-Sword was successfully carried out, within the scope of our strategy to eradicate terrorism at its source and eliminate terror attacks against our people and security forces from northern Iraq and Syria," said a defense ministry statement.
Terör yuvaları tam isabet vuruşlarla yerle bir ediliyor! 🇹🇷 pic.twitter.com/9jiFRn0hej— T.C. Millî Savunma Bakanlığı (@tcsavunma) November 19, 2022
Why Turkey attacked PKK and YPG: The Istanbul bombing was the deadliest in the country in five years. No group claimed responsibility but Ankara accused PKK and YPG of the attack. Turkey cited the right to self-defense under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter for launching the airstrikes.
'Strikes random and targeted people': The Women's Protection Units, which is linked to the YPG, said the airstrikes targeted areas along the Turkey-Syria border including Kobani, Derbasiyeh, and Ein Issa.
The outcome of Turkish terrorist aggressions against north and eastern Syria until the moment:— Farhad Shami (@farhad_shami) November 20, 2022
1- Destroying the Corona Hospital in Kobane due to airstrikes.
2- Destroying the power station in Derik.
3- Destroying the grain silos in Dahir al-Arab, Zarkan.
Fear among Syrian Kurds: After the deadly strikes in Syria, the Kurds in northern part of the country expressed fear and anger. They accused the United States of abandoning them after they spearheaded the fight against the Islamic State.
"Death to America," one protester yelled. America is a partner of Turkish President Erdogan, whose hands are stained with the blood of our martyrs," a protester said to AFP.