Turkish warplanes kill 6 Kurdish militants in northern Iraq

At least 20 Kurdish fighters were killed earlier on Tuesday when Turkish jets carried out bombings in northeast Syria and northern Iraq, part of an ongoing effort to eliminate what Ankara calls "terrorist havens" with ties to the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

US officials said Turkey had informed the United States less than an hour in advance that it meant to carry out the bombing raids in the crowded airspace over northern Syria and Iraq.

The State Department and Pentagon both described the United States as "deeply concerned" by the strikes and said the objections were raised directly with the Turkish government.

US -backed Syrian Kurdish forces say they want the worldwide coalition to provide air cover over northern Syria, to protect them from Turkish and Syrian government air raids.

A statement issued by the Peshmerga, the military arm of Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government, said that five of its fighters were killed in the air raid and another nine wounded.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the clashes erupted "after the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) fired on an armoured vehicle belonging to Turkish forces that had crossed the Syrian-Turkish border".

The president said Turkey will not let Sinjar become a PKK base and will continue military operations there and in northern Syria "until the last terrorist is eliminated". "We call on the worldwide community to intervene to put an end to these ongoing attacks on our territory", the SDF said in a statement published late Tuesday.




It also expressed concern that "the Turkish strikes were inflicted on the territory of sovereign states, bypassing their legitimate governments". However, the US regards the latter as a key ally in the fight against Daesh in Syria.

Cavusoglu said Ankara had told Washington in the "last few weeks" that it would undertake military operations but did not give further detail.

There were no casualties but minor material damage.YPG spokesman Redur Xelil said there was heavy Turkish artillery fire across the border into Syria on Wednesday.

In north-eastern Syria strikes targeting the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) - who are leading the offensive against IS stronghold Raqa - were reported to have killed 20 fighters.

The Turkish raids showed the challenges facing US -led attempts to defeat Islamic State in Syria and risk increasing tension between North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies Washington and Ankara over Kurdish combatants who have been crucial in driving back the jihadists.

In Syria, the Turkish jets targeted leadership sites used by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a Kurdish-dominated force that has emerged as the United States' primary military partner in Syria, according to a second US official. The operations were conducted to prevent infiltration of Kurdish rebels, weapons, ammunition and explosives from those areas into Turkey, the military said.

Other airstrikes targeted Kurdish fighters in Sinjar, northern Iraq, where Peshmerga forces announced the killing of six of their members. 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. No U.S. forces in either country were harmed. The PKK has been training and arming Yazidis to fight the Islamic State and has said it will not withdraw from Sinjar until Yazidi forces control the area.

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