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Türkiye hit 89 targets in northern Iraq, Syria operation: Defence ministry

A total of 89 targets were destroyed in the ongoing Operation Claw-Sword in northern Iraq and Syria, and “many terrorists” were “neutralised,” the Turkish Ministry of National Defence has announced. 

“Among the terrorists neutralised by the air operation are the so-called leaders of the terrorist organisation,” the ministry said in a statement on Sunday. 

The operation was carried out in the Qandil, Asos, Hakurk regions in northern Iraq, and  Ayn al Arab, Tel Rifaat, Jazira and Derik in northern Syria, the statement continued. 

Turkish authorities use the term “neutralise” to imply the terrorists in question surrendered or were killed or wounded. 

The statement said that the first stage of the operation targeted the “shelters, bunkers, caves, tunnels, ammunition depots and so-called headquarters and training camps belonging to terrorists.”

Türkiye launched a new cross-border anti-terror operation called “Operation Claw-Sword” during the early hours of Sunday, a week after the PKK/YPG terror group carried out a deadly bombing in the country’s financial city Istanbul, killing six people and wounding more than 80. 

‘Principle of self-defence’

The Ministry of National Defence said the new aerial campaign against the PKK/YPG  was carried out in self-defence in line with Article 51 of the UN Charter.

“Only terrorists and hideouts belonging to them were targeted… The claw of our Turkish Armed Forces was once again on the top of the terrorists,” Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said earlier in the day.

Türkiye will continue to call to account those who target the country’s security, he vowed.

“Our aim is to ensure the security of our 85 million citizens and our borders and to respond to any treacherous attack on our country,” Akar stressed.

In its more than 35-year campaign against Türkiye, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organisation by Türkiye, the US and the EU – has been responsible for the deaths of more than 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.

The YPG is the PKK’s Syrian offshoot.

READ MORE: Türkiye begins anti-terror raids in Iraq, Syria after Istanbul bombing

‘In line with international law’

Vice President Fuat Oktay said the Turkish Armed Forces called the terrorists to account.

“We will continue to make traitors pay the price,” Oktay said on Twitter.

Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said that Türkiye had the “full sovereign right to determine and eliminate any terrorist threats” no matter where it came from. 

“Türkiye conducts its anti-terror operations within international law and will continue to do so with or without the support of its allies,” Kalin said on Twitter.

Separately, Communication Director Fahrettin Altun reiterated that terrorists’ targets were “successfully” destroyed during the operation.

“We will continue to defeat terrorists and their sponsors who seek to destabilise Türkiye [and] destroy terrorism at its source,” Altun said on Twitter.

Meanwhile, the Turkish Presidency shared photos of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ordering the start of the air operation on his return from Indonesia where he visited to attend the Group of 20 summit.

Istiklal bombing puts spotlight on US support for PKK/YPG

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