US deeply concerned about Turkey's airstrikes in Syria, Iraq


The decision to hit positions held by the PKK outside Turkey was made after a slew of attacks against military outposts near the borders with Iraq and Syria, the Turkish military said.

More than 20 people were killed when Turkey launched a series of air strikes against Kurdish militia groups in Syria and Iraq on Tuesday, attacking a key United States ally in the fight against ISIL in Syria and escalating the standoff between rival Kurdish parties in Iraq.

Turkey considers the YPG part of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, which is a terrorist organization.

Turkey conducted airstrikes this week in Syria and Iraq that killed partner forces in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, giving little notice and making no effort to coordinate the strikes, a spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolvesaid Wednesday.

"Ministry of Foreign Affairs expresses rejection and outrage at the Turkish aggression in Sinjar, northern Iraq".

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Since July 2015, the Turkish air force has been carrying out operations against PKK positions in the country's southeastern border region as well as in northern Iraq and neighboring Syria.

Turkey on Wednesday carried out airstrikes for the second day in a row against Kurdish paramilitary groups, a day after it struck targets in Syria and Iraq that killed at least 20 - as possible as many as 70 - fighters.

This appears to have been an accident, as the Iraqi Kurdish forces are usually an ally of Turkey's.

Muftuoglu noted that Turkey had followed de-confliction protocols agreed between the US-led coalition and the United States and had contacted the Qatar-based Combined Air Operations Center (COAC) that controls and commands air operations in the region.

Turkey frequently carries out airstrikes in the mountainous regions of northern Iraq without coordination with the Iraqi government. A ceasefire between Turkey and the PKK ended a year ago and clashes have since claimed hundreds of lives on both sides.

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Turkey has also been at odds with the United States over military action in Syria, which Washington says is mainly aimed at countering the rising influence of Kurdish fighters in the country.

Separate cross-border Turkish artillery attacks were reported from Turkey's Mardin province, which faces the Syrian Kurdish town of Derbesiye. It said there were no casualties, and it retaliated. The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces - which are dominated by the YPG - are waging a five-month-old offensive for IS's Syria stronghold Raqa.

However, the resulting strikes led to the deaths of a number of U.S. Kurdish allies, the Syrian Democratic Forces and Peshmerga forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government, operating near Sinjar. The Syrian Kurds have driven IS from large parts of Syria and are now closing in on Raqqa, the de facto capital of the extremists' self-styled caliphate.

Dorrian, who was speaking to Pentagon reporters from Baghdad, said there were US forces within six miles of the strikes and charged that the Turkish military only gave a vague description of where the attack would happen.

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