ISTANBUL: Turkish forces on Saturday unleashed a third wave of airstrikes and ground attacks on targets of the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria and Kurdish militants in northern Iraq, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said.
“We have given instructions for a third series of strikes in Syria and Iraq. Air and ground operations are under way,” Davutoglu told reporters in Ankara.
“No one should doubt out determination,” he added. “We will not allow Turkey to be turned into a lawless country.”
Turkey had early Saturday carried out a second wave of the air strikes it says are aimed at extinguishing terror threats, this time hitting not just IS targets in Syria but also Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets in northern Iraq.
Its ground forces had also carried out artillery strikes on PKK targets in northern Iraq and IS targets in Syria.
Davutoglu said he had earlier Saturday spoken to Massud Barzani, the president of the Kurdish-ruled autonomous region in northern Iraq, to explain the attacks on the PKK.
He said that Barzani had agreed Turkey had a right to undertake an operation against the PKK and had expressed his “solidarity”.
Davutoglu said a total 590 suspected members of IS, PKK and other militant groups had also been arrested in raids across Turkey that began on Friday morning and continued Saturday.
He said they were being held in custody on the grounds of links to terror groups and presenting a threat to the state. – AFP