The aerial campaign targets PKK/YPG terrorists in northern areas of both countries, Defence Ministry says, a week after the group killed six people and wounded 81 in a bombing on Istanbul's busy Istiklal Avenue.

"It's payback time! The scoundrels are taken to account for their heinous attacks," Turkish Defence Ministry says. (TRTWorld)

Türkiye has launched a major anti-terror operation in northern Iraq and Syria, a week after PKK/YPG terrorists carried out a deadly bombing in the country's financial city Istanbul, killing six people and wounding more than 80. 

Sunday's aerial operation struck terror hideouts of PKK, Turkish Defence Ministry announced, saying: "It's payback time! The scoundrels are taken to account for their heinous attacks."

"In line with our self-defence rights arising from Article 51 of the United Nations Charter," the ministry said, the Claw Sword Air Operation is being carried out in the areas "used as a base by terrorists in their attacks on our country."

In northern Iraq, Turkish security forces have been conducting operation Claw Lock, targeting PKK hideouts in the Metina, Zap and Avasin-Basyan areas.

Local sources said Syria's Azaz, Tel Rifaat, Tel Abyad and Ayan al Arab areas, where PKK/YPG maintains terror hideouts, were struck by Turkish jets in the fresh operation. 

It comes after Turkish police arrested the chief suspect of the Istiklal Avenue attack Alham Albashir — a Syrian woman who confessed to working for PKK/YPG and also admitted to planting the bomb.

The Istanbul court has remanded 17 suspects in pre-trial detention on charges of "destroying national unity" and "deliberate killing".

Albashir said she joined the terror group because of her boyfriend's influence and maintained her ties to the group after she broke up with him, Anadolu Agency reported.

The attack in one of the busiest Turkish streets was the deadliest in five years and evoked memories of a wave of nationwide bombings from 2015 to 2017 carried out by PKK and Daesh terror groups.

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PKK presence in Syria, Iraq

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organisation by Türkiye, the US, and the EU — has been responsible for the deaths of more than 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants. 

The YPG is the group's Syrian offshoot.

The PKK terror group often uses bases in northern Iraq and Syria, just across Türkiye's southern border, to hide and plot terror attacks in Türkiye.

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Source: TRT World