“The hour of reckoning has come! The bastards will be held to account for their treacherous attacks,” the Turkish Defense Ministry announced on Twitter on Sunday, showing a photo of a plane taking off for a night operation with no location specified.
The Turkish armed forces last night carried out more than twenty air raids against positions of the PKK/PYD organization, in the northern countryside of Aleppo, Raqqa and al-Hassaké, in the north and north-east of the Syria, especially in Kobané. The raids killed at least 6 PKK members, in addition to 6 Syrian regime soldiers, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH).
The attack comes after Ankara blamed the Kurdish PKK movement for an attack that bloodied Istanbul. On November 13, an explosion in the busy shopping street of Istiklal killed 6 people and injured more than 80.
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu had specifically accused Kurdish YPG forces, which control most of northeastern Syria, of being responsible for the attack, saying “the order of the attack was been given from Kobane. The US State Department said on Friday it feared “a possible military action by Turkey”, advising its nationals not to go to northern Syria and Iraq.
The Turkish Defense Ministry announced on Sunday that it had launched the “Sword Claw” air operation in northern Iraq and Syria, accusing its regions of being “used as bases by terrorists”. The operation was carried out “in accordance with the rights of self-defence under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, in order to eliminate terrorist attacks from northern Iraq and Syria, to ensure the safety of borders and eliminate terrorism at its source,” he said in a statement.
The commander-in-chief of the FDS, Mazloum Abdi, denounced the “aggressive and barbaric” bombardments. “The Turkish bombardment of our areas threatens the entire region. This bombardment does not serve any party. We are doing everything to avoid a major catastrophe. If war breaks out, everyone will be affected,” he tweeted.
At war since 2011, Syria is fragmented due to the intervention of multiple groups and foreign powers in the conflict. Between 2016 and 2019, the Turkish army launched three large-scale operations in northern Syria targeting IS and PKK organizations.
Turkey, whose soldiers are present in areas of northern Syria, has been threatening since May to launch a major offensive against the PKK / FDS. Ankara says it wants to create a 30 kilometer wide “security zone” on its southern border.