Turkey Expands Syria Military Operation Into Iraq With 18 Airstrikes on Kurdish Targets

Turkey expands its Syrian campaign against the Kurds into Iraq by destroying targets belonging to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, holding an olive branch, embraces a supporter after delivering a speech at a rally of his ruling Justice and Development (AKP) Party's supporters, in Mersin, southern Turkey, Saturday, March 10, 2018
Pool Photo via AP

Turkish warplanes destroyed at least 18 targets belonging to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in northern Iraq over the weekend, the state-run Anadolu news agency said on Sunday.

The strikes, carried out on Saturday and Sunday, targeted the Hakurk, Zap, Metina, Gara and Avasin-Basyan regions of northern Iraq, Anadolu said, citing the Turkish military.

Turkey regularly carries out airstrikes against PKK targets in northern Iraq, where the group is based in the Qandil mountains.

The PKK, considered a terrorist organisation by the United States, the European Union and Turkey, has waged a three-decade insurgency inTurkey's largely Kurdish southeast that has killed some 40,000 people.

Turkey in January launched a separate military operation in northern Syria's Afrin region to sweep Syrian Kurdish YPG fighters from its southern border. Turkey considers the YPG an extension of the PKK.

U.S. support for the YPG in the fight against Islamic State in Syria has strained ties between Ankara and Washington, both members of the NATO military alliance.