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Turkish aerial attacks kill 49 PKK militants in northern Iraq

Turkish Air Force F-16C (File Photo)

At least 49 militants of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) have been killed when Turkish warplanes carried out a string of aerial attacks against their positions in northern Iraq.

Turkey’s armed forces said in a statement on Thursday that the militants were killed when Turkish jets bombarded their positions in the Asos/ Qandil, Zap, Avasin-Basyan and Hakurk regions, the Anadolu news agency reported.

The statement further noted that shelters, hideouts and weapon positions belonging to PKK militants were destroyed in the aerial attacks.

It added that the militants were planning an attack on Turkish border posts.

The airstrikes in Iraq coincide with Turkey’s fresh operation in northern Syria against US-backed Kurdish militants.

The so-called Operation Olive Branch was launched days after the US announced a plan to form a 30,000-strong militant force near the Turkish border in Syria.

A Turkish military truck carries a tank as it is dispatched to the border in Hatay, near the Turkey-Syria border, on January 31, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

Ankara views the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militant group as a terror organization and the Syrian branch of the PKK.

According to the Turkish Defense Ministry, a total of 649 YPG militants have been killed since the beginning of the operation on January 20.

The Syrian government has condemned the “brutal Turkish aggression” against Afrin, rejecting Ankara’s claim about having informed Damascus of the operation.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Wednesday that several hundred people, including civilians, have been killed during Turkey's military operation in Syria’s northwestern region of Afrin.

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