Turkish army kills militants in Syria, Iraq
ANKARATurkish jets have hit terrorist targets separately in Syria and Iraq as part of its policy of fighting against terrorism outside its borders.
A total of 57 militants from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) were killed in an air strike by Turkish warplanes in northern Iraq on Jan. 13 and 14, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) said in a statement on Jan. 27.
It added that many militants were also wounded in the air strikes.
Turkish armed forces have been engaged in armed clashes with the PKK since the mid-1980s.
Separately, 22 Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants were “neutralized” in northern Syria over the last 24 hours as part of the Turkey-backed Euphrates Shield operation, the Turkish military said on Jan. 27.
Turkish authorities use the word “neutralized” in their statements to imply the militants in question were either killed, captured or incapacitated.
The Turkish Armed Forces also hit 272 ISIL targets including command and control facilities, defense points, shelters, vehicles and weapons used by ISIL militants in northern Syria, a Turkish General Staff statement said on the 157th day of the operation.
Turkish jets also hit 21 buildings used as shelters, two headquarters, one weapons depot and four bomb-laden vehicles. Some 73 handmade explosives were neutralized.
Since the beginning of the operation, 3,282 handmade explosives and 55 mines were neutralized under controlled conditions.
The Euphrates Shield operation began late August 2016 to tighten border security, eliminate the terror threat along Turkey’s southern borders and support opposition forces in Syria. Turkey backs the Free Syrian Army with artillery and jets as part of the operation.
Meanwhile, the Russian army said on Jan. 26 that Russian and Turkish warplanes carried out new air strikes in Syria on the same day, targeting positions of ISIL militants in the town of al-Bab in the northern Syria.
“On Jan. 26, the Russian and Turkish air forces conducted another joint air operation against the Islamic State group in the town of Al-Bab,” the army said in a statement, AFP reported.
The operation involved Russia’s Su-24M bombers and Su-35S fighter planes along with Turkey’s F-16 and F-4 fighter jets, the army statement said.
The Russian planes “destroyed three command and communication centers and several fortified positions,” it added.
Moscow and Ankara had already carried out air strikes against ISIL in al-Bab on Jan. 18 and 21, after signing an accord earlier this month to coordinate their air campaign against “terrorist targets” in Syria.
In all, 58 ISIL targets had been destroyed in the joint air raids, the Russian army said.