Turkey steps up airstrikes against Kurdish groups in Syria and Iraq after 12 soldiers were killed

Turkey has intensified its airstrikes against Kurdish groups in Syria and northern Iraq in retaliation for the deaths of 12 Turkish soldiers in Iraq over the weekend

The Turkish defense ministry said in a statement Monday that it had killed at least 26 militants in the strikes.

Turkey has carried out 128 strikes in northeast Syria in 2023, killing 94 people, according to the Observatory.

In response, Ankara launched strikes on dozens of sites it said were associated with the PKK in Iraq and Syria.

Some of the strikes hit oil industry sites, health facilities and vital infrastructure in northeast Syria, reducing electricity production by 50% on Saturday, according to the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, a Kurdish-led authority in northeast Syria that Turkey claims is affiliated with the PKK but which is a key ally of the United States.

Turkey and Washington both consider the PKK a terror group, but disagree on the status of the Syrian Kurdish groups, which have been allied with the U.S. in the fight against the Islamic State group in Syria.

The Kurdish administration in its statement urged the United Nations to intervene, warning that the Turkish attacks could threaten the region’s security. It said that one of the strikes had hit a site near the Alaya prison in Qamishli, which houses IS members.

SDF commander Mazloum Abdi in a post on X condemned Turkey’s “targeting of infrastructure and civilians’ means of livelihood” in northeast Syria.

There was no immediate comment from Iraqi officials on the strikes.

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