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    Wednesday, April 26, 2017

    Turkish warplanes killed more than two dozen Kurdish fighters

    Turkish warplanes killed more than two dozen Kurdish fighters on Tuesday in strikes in Syria and Iraq, where the Kurds are key players in the battle against the militant Islamic State (IS) group.
    Turkey said it had carried out the strikes in north-eastern Syria and northern Iraq against “terrorist havens” and vowed to continue taking actions against groups it linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
    In north-eastern Syria strikes targeting the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) — who are leading the offensive against IS stronghold Raqa — were reported to have killed 20 fighters.
    In northern Iraq they killed six peshmerga fighters from the autonomous Kurdish government, usually allied with Ankara, in an apparent accident. The peshmerga said the strike was “unacceptable” but blamed PKK-affiliated militia fighters who it said were the targets.
    The strikes underlined the complexities of the battlefields in Iraq and Syria, where twin US-backed offensives are seeking to dislodge IS fighters from their last major urban strongholds.
    They could also exacerbate tensions between Ankara and its Nato ally Washington, which is leading an anti-IS coalition carrying out air strikes in Syria and Iraq and sees the Kurds as one of the most effective fighting forces against IS.
    Turkey’s army said it launched the strikes “in order to destroy terrorist havens targeting our country”.
    “The operations will continue to be carried out from now with the same determination until the very last terrorist is neutralised,” it said.
    The bombardment near the city of Al-Malikiyah in north-eastern Syria saw Turkish jets carry out “dozens of simultaneous air strikes” on YPG positions overnight, including a media centre, a monitoring group said.
    The strikes killed three media officers and 15 YPG fighters, one of the highest death tolls from Turkish air raids on Kurdish militia, said Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
    YPG spokesman Redur Khalil said 20 YPG fighters were killed and 18 wounded, with three in critical condition. Two civilians were also injured.
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    Item Reviewed: Turkish warplanes killed more than two dozen Kurdish fighters Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Abdul Sattar Qamar