Six people were killed and more than 80 injured in a bomb blast in Istanbul, Turkey, last week. As a result, Turkish military aircraft hit targets in northern Syria and Iraq. Al-Jazeera news.

Turkey’s Ministry of Defense announced the start of the operation in a statement on Twitter on Sunday. The time of reckoning has come, the ministry said on Twitter, along with a photo of a military aircraft flying in a night operation. Those who committed treacherous attacks will be held accountable.

Ankara blamed the November 13 bombing in Istanbul on the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and allied Syrian Kurdish groups. But Kurdish fighters have denied involvement.

In another post, the defense ministry said precision ‘strikes’ were used to destroy ‘terrorist hotbeds’. The Pence Killic air campaign was conducted in areas of northern Iraq and Syria that are used by terrorists as bases for attacks on our country, in accordance with our right to self-defense arising from Article 51 of the UN Charter.’

Both Turkey and the US consider the PKK a ‘terrorist’ group. However, the position of Syrian Kurdish groups allied with Washington in the fight against the ISIL (ISIS) group in Syria differed.

The US State Department said on Friday it feared possible military action by Turkey, advising its citizens not to travel to northern Syria and Iraq.

However, Ankara did not give exact details of the overnight operation. The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said Turkish airstrikes hit Koban (Ain al-Arab) in northeastern Syria.

Kobane, a Kurdish-majority town near the Turkish border, was captured by ISIL (ISIS) in late 2014 and driven out by Kurdish fighters early the following year.

“Kobane, the city that defeated ISIS, has been bombed by Turkish occupation planes,” SDF media center chief Farhad Shami tweeted.

An SDF spokesman later said two villages populated by internally displaced persons (IDPs) in northern Syria were also attacked. Turkish occupation aircraft are shelling the village of Al-Baylonia which was forcibly displaced from Afrin in 2018 by Afrin IDPs.’

He noted that the airstrikes had resulted in ‘deaths and injuries’. However, he did not say the exact number of casualties.

SDF chief Majlum Abdi wrote on Twitter that the attacks threatened the entire region and urged people in the targeted areas to stay in their homes and wait for instructions from security forces.

There was no immediate comment from the Syrian or Iraqi governments.

Turkey has launched three major cross-border operations into Syria since 2016 and already controls some areas in the north.

(20 November)