Turkey warplanes bomb Kurds in Syria


20 January, 2018 21:40 PM

Turkey warplanes bomb Kurds in Syria

Photo: Getty Images

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Turkish warplanes have attacked YPG and PKK targets as Ankara moves to help opposition fighters entering the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in northern Syria.

The Turkish prime minister, Binali Yildirum, said the country's air force had began its aerial offensive on the region near the border between the two nations which has been controlled by the Syrian YPG (People's Protection Units) since 2012.

During a speech in the Turkish city of Bilecik, he said: "As of this moment our brave Armed Forces have started the aerial offensive to eliminate the PYD and PKK and Daesh elements in Afrin".

A senior Turkish official said it aimed to liberate the region from the control of the Kurdish militants who they say are using their toehold in northern Syria as a base to launch attacks on Turkey.

The official said freeing nearby Manbij from militant control will follow the operation to Afrin, the source said, adding that the operations are aimed at re-building social and economic infrastructure in the region.

Associated Press journalists at the Turkish border saw at least five jets heading toward Afrin. They also witnessed a convoy of buses, believed to be carrying Syrian opposition fighters, travelling along the border across from Afrin. The convoy included trucks mounted with machine guns.

The assault has been dubbed "Operation Olive Branch" by the Turkish Armed Forces.

The PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party), the Turkish Kurdish separatist movement, has been involved in an on and off armed conflict with the Turkish state since 1984 and has staged several terror attacks in the country's major cities in recent years.

But the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces said earlier on Saturday that the accusations of cross-border attacks were "false" and they would have no choice to retaliate if they were attacked.  

They said the "sudden and unjustified" attacks on Afrin "threatens to breath new life" in Isis which the militants are currently fighting.