Turkey has hit Kurdish militants with airstrikes days after the Istanbul bombing

Turkey launched a series of airstrikes on Kurdish militants in northern Syria and Iraq on Sunday, days after a bombing raid in Istanbul killed six.

Military bases of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Syrian People’s Protection Units (YPG) were hit in the attacks, Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said in a statement.

“Shelters, bunkers, caves, tunnels and warehouses belonging to terrorists were destroyed with great success,” Akar said. “The so-called headquarters of the terrorist organization was also hit with a direct hit and destroyed.”

A view shows the aftermath of airstrikes carried out by Turkey's Defense Ministry on November 20, 2022 in Derik, Syria.

A view shows the aftermath of airstrikes carried out by Turkey’s Defense Ministry on November 20, 2022 in Derik, Syria.
(Press Agency North/Handout via REUTERS)

People inspect a site damaged by Turkish airstrikes that hit an electric power station in Taql Baql village in Hasakeh province, Syria, Sunday, April 11, 2022.

People inspect a site damaged by Turkish airstrikes that hit an electric power station in Taql Baql village in Hasakeh province, Syria, Sunday, April 11, 2022.
(AP Photo/Baderkhan Ahmad)

Turkish officials blamed PKK and YPG for the Istanbul bombing last Sunday that killed six and wounded dozens. Both groups have denied involvement.

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Turkish Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin tweeted that “it’s time for Istiklal,” a reference to the street where the bombing took place.

The Bulgarian prosecutor’s office has arrested five people involved in the bombing, according to Reuters – three men of Moldovan origin and a man and a woman of Syrian Kurdish origin.

People leave the area after an explosion on Istanbul's popular pedestrian street Istiklal Avenue on Sunday, Istanbul, Sunday, 11/13/2022.

People leave the area after an explosion on Istanbul’s popular pedestrian street Istiklal Avenue on Sunday, Istanbul, Sunday, 11/13/2022.
(Ismail Coskun/IHA via AP)

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The PKK, which has been fighting an insurgency in Turkey since 1984, is considered a terrorist group by both Turkey and the United States, although the US has allied itself with the YPG in its fight against ISIS in Syria.

“We are determined, determined and able to save our country and nation from the scourge of terror that has plagued our country and nation for 40 years,” Akar said Sunday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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