Turkey jets flying from a base in Turkey’s southeast struck Islamic State group targets across the border in Syria for the second straight night, the government said Saturday. The fighter jets also hit camps belonging to Kurdish militants in northern Iraq.
It was the first time Turkish jets have struck Kurds in northern Iraq since a peace deal was announced in 2013 between Ankara and the rebel group, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK. The group has been fighting Turkey for autonomy since 1984 and is considered a terrorist organization by Ankara and its allies.
The jets hit PKK shelters, bunkers, caves, storages facilities and other “logistical points,” the statement said. Areas targeted included the Qandil mountains, where the PKK’s command is based. The statement did not specify IS targets that were struck in Syria but described the airstrikes as being “effective.”
Turkey’s military also shelled IS and PKK positions from across the Turkish border, the government said.
Tensions have flared with Kurds in recent days after an IS suicide bombing in the southeastern Turkish city of Suruc on Monday killed 32 people. Kurdish groups blame the Turkish government for not combatting IS.
On Wednesday, the PKK claimed responsibility for the killing of two Turkish policemen near the Kurdish majority city of Sanliurfa, near the Syrian border.
In other attacks, seven police officers were wounded after suspected PKK militants hurled a small bomb at a police station in Bismil town, near the mainly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir, the Dogan news agency reported Friday. Assailants also hurled a small bomb at officers inside a police vehicle in the town of Semdinli, near the border with Iraq, the agency said.
Turkey started attacking IS positions after the suicide bombing and an IS ambush that killed a Turkish soldier.
On Friday, three F-16 jets struck IS targets that included two command centers and a gathering point near the Turkish border in Syria. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said nine IS militants were killed in the raids.
Turkey announced Friday that it was allowing its air bases to be used by the U.S.-led coalition forces for operations against IS extremists.