Turkish military carries out airstrikes in northern Iraq

ISTANBUL, IRBIL: Turkey’s military carried out airstrikes in northern Iraq on Wednesday, killing 23 militants from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), it said on Twitter.

The airstrikes targeted several regions in the neighboring northern Iraq, including the Qandil mountains, a PKK stronghold, the military said.

Turkey has in recent months carried out regular strikes on PKK bases in northern Iraq. 

PKK is designated a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU. 

More than 40,000 people have been killed since the PKK launched its insurgency in Turkey in 1984. 

Daesh commanders killed

Iraq’s Shiite militias said on Wednesday that they had killed two Daesh commanders who ordered an attack last week on US-backed Syrian Kurdish forces along the Iraq-Syria border.

The clashes since last Friday along the border have demonstrated the continuing threat from Daesh, months after authorities on both sides of the frontier declared the militants had been effectively defeated.

Daesh fighters, driven from nearly all the territory they once controlled on either side of the Syria-Iraqi border, launched one of this year’s fiercest attacks on Friday against the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said around 70 SDF fighters were killed in the assault, which Daesh launched under cover of a sandstorm using suicide bombers and female militants. The SDF says it lost 14 fighters.

Iraq’s Shiite paramilitaries, also known as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), said in a statement on Wednesday they had killed two Daesh commanders in the border area who were responsible for the attack.

Ahmed Nasrallah, a PMF operations commander for western Anbar, said that the Iraqi military had provided information on militant gathering locations, and that a US-led military coalition fighting against Daesh had not attacked.The coalition could not immediately be reached for comment.

Daesh fighters, who once maintained a self-proclaimed caliphate straddling Iraq and Syria, were pushed out of the towns and cities they controlled last year by a range of foes, including the US-led coalition, the Iran-backed Iraqi militia, the Iraqi government and the Moscow-backed Syrian army.

Washington’s main allies on the ground in Syria have been the SDF, which is led by a Kurdish militia. The US has an estimated 2,000 special forces troops on the ground in Syria assisting them.

Iraqi Shiite militias reinforced their side of the border area in response to Friday’s attack on the SDF in Syria, and Iraq’s military said it was ready to take on any militants who tried to cross.

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