Turkey stages cross-border operations against PKK and ISIL in Iraq and Syria
ANKARAThe Turkish military has conducted cross-border operations against both the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in northern Iraq and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) jihadist group in northern Syria over the past two days, amid rocket attacks targeting the country’s southeastern border province of Kilis and ongoing security operations against the PKK.
A group of 20 Turkish special forces teams reportedly conducted operations in ISIL-held areas in northern Syria at around 1.30 a.m. on May 7 to scout the region to help destroy missile launchers, after a 10-day intelligence and preparation process. U.S. and Russian military officials were also reportedly informed of the operation.
The special forces teams later returned to the country in the morning hours following a four-hour operation, according to reports.
In the morning hours of May 7, the Turkish military carried out four separate air strikes against ISIL positions in northern Syria, as part of a joint effort and intelligence with the U.S.-led coalition forces.
A total of 48 ISIL militants were killed in the airstrikes as Turkish and U.S. officials at the İncirlik Air Base in the southern province of Adana identified ISIL targets in northern Syria upon intelligence.
F-15s, F-16s, and A-10 warplanes hit ISIL targets three times in the Baragitah, Havar Kilis, Harcele and Delha region of northern Syria at 5.47 a.m, 6.13 a.m and 7.41 a.m. respectively. Initial footage showed that 44 ISIL militants were killed in the three air operations while a number of militants were wounded. The final operation was conducted at 11.45 a.m. in the Karaköprü region, where an additional four ISIL militants were killed.
Two Katyusha rockets were fired from ISIL positions in Syria on the southeastern province of Kilis at 1.20 p.m. following the air strikes. No casualties were reported in the rocket attack.
Turkish armed forces responded to the attack by shelling ISIL targets with howitzers from the border.
In the evening hours on May 7, reconnaissance and surveillance vehicles spotted ISIL positions in the Suran region north of Aleppo and the Baragidah and Kuşacık regions northeast of Tal el Hişn.
A total of 55 ISIL militants were killed in the shellings, while three vehicles and three rocket launchers belonging to the jihadist group were also destroyed. The moment of destruction was also recorded via reconnaissance and surveillance vehicles.
Turkey has been hit by a series of rocket attacks from ISIL-controlled areas in Syria since mid-January, killing over 20 people and injuring scores of others.
In response, the Turkish army has been shelling ISIL positions and firing multiple rockets after unmanned aerial vehicles spotted where the rockets were fired from.
Meanwhile, cross-border operations continued early on May 8, as Turkish warplanes targeted PKK positions in northern Iraq.
Turkish F-16 and F-4 2020 warplanes destroyed shelters, ammunition stores and weapon pits belonging to the PKK in the Kandil, Metina, Zap and Gara regions of northern Iraq between 2.00 a.m. and 4.30 a.m.
The jets returned to their bases in Turkey after the operation.