Turkey’s air force continue attack on ISIS positions in Syria besides the Kurdish PKK militants in northern Iraq….reports Asian Lite News
Turkish PM Ahmet Davutoglu defenced the attacks by saying the action is essential to protect the country from “enemies.”
Mr Davutoglu added that 590 suspected IS and PKK members had been arrested.
The raids are after a suicide bomber kill 32 socialist activists in the Turkish town of Suruc. The ISIS also attacked a Turkish border post led to the death of a Turkish soldier.
Three Turkish F-16 fighter jets took off from the 8th Main Jet Base in Diyarbakir province at 3.12 a.m. and hit two IS headquarters and one checkpoint in Syria with guided missiles, Turkish Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.
The operation was named after Yalcin Nane, a non-commissioned military officer who was killed during Turkish army’s first gunfight with IS on the border in the province of Kilis on Thursday, Hurriyet Daily News reported.
The IS targets were located near Syria’s Havar village .
The jets launched their missiles from Turkey, without entering the Syrian airspace.
The PKK’s military wing said it had killed two Turkish police officers on Wednesday, claiming they had collaborated with IS in the bombing in Suruc, which targeted left-wing activists.
A government statement said the air force had hit PKK shelters, bunkers, storage facilities and other “logistic points” in northern Iraq, including the Qandil mountains where the PKK’s high command is based.
Turkey’s military had also shelled Islamic State and PKK positions from across the Turkish border, the statement added.
Speaking to reporters on Saturday, Prime Minister Davutoglu said: “Unfortunately Turkey is surrounded by a ring of fire.
“In such an atmosphere, Turkey tries to keep her democracy and development alive… these operations have carried a message to the countries in the region and to international circles: whatever happens in Syria and Iraq, in our border regions, we will not allow them to threaten Turkey’s security and will not hesitate to take necessary measures.”
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said areas of northern Syria cleared of IS fighters would become natural “safe zones”.
Turkey has also said it will let the US use a key airbase to attack IS targets.
The overnight air strikes in northern Iraq were the first time Turkey had attacked the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) since a 2013 truce.
The group has been fighting Turkey for an autonomous homeland for the Kurds for decades.
In a statement on its website quoted by Reuters news agency, the PKK said: “The truce has no meaning any more after these intense air strikes by the occupant Turkish army.”
The Turkish government has faced criticism at home and abroad for not doing enough against IS, despite being part of the international coalition fighting it.
The first round of anti-IS air strikes on Friday marked the first time Turkey had confirmed air strikes against targets in Syria since IS began its advance through Iraq and Syria in 2013.
The agreement to let the US use the Incirlik airbase, following months of negotiations, was made in a phone call between President Barack Obama and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – but has yet to be approved by the Turkish cabinet.
It could allow the US to step up air strikes against IS, as it is closer to northern Syria and Iraq than the Gulf, which currently serves as a launch-pad for bombing missions.