ANKARA — Turkey has begun bombing Kurdish strongholds in Iraq.
Turkish F-16 multi-role fighters attacked Kurdish Workers Party positions in northern Iraq last week. Turkish military sources said the bombing raids took place in the Kandil mountains along the Iraqi-Turkish border.
“The aim of the air strikes is to stop the flow of terrorists into Turkey,” a source said.
[On Sunday, at least 27 people, including 10 British tourists, were injured in four bombings in Turkey, most of them in Marmaris. There was no claim of responsibility for the strikes, Middle East Newsline reported.]
It was the first time since 2002 that Ankara sent fighter-jets on bombing missions inside Iraq. The attacks came after more than a year of warnings that Turkey would not tolerate the PKK presence in Iraq.
At least three F-16s took part in the bombing raid in the Kandil mountains on Aug. 23. The sources did not report casualties or major damage.
Turkish media reports said the F-16s flew on bombing missions from a military air base in Diyarbakir. The reports said the air strikes were coordinated with ground operations in the mountains of southeastern Turkey.
The PKK has denied that Turkish aircraft attacked bases of the insurgency group inside Iraq. Over the last month, the PKK reported several Iranian artillery strikes on northern Iraq.
“News that Turkish military F-16 planes bombed the border areas of southern Kurdistan are lies and unfounded,” the PKK said.