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Turkish Jets Strike Kurds in Iraq, Complicating Anti-ISIS Fight

by Associated Press / / Source: Associated Press

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ANKARA, Turkey — Turkish jets struck camps belonging to Kurdish militants in northern Iraq, authorities said Saturday, the first strike since a 2013 peace deal as Ankara also bombed ISIS positions in Syria.

The strikes in Iraq targeted the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, whose affiliates have been effective in battling ISIS. The strikes further complicate the U.S.-led war against the extremists, which has relied on Kurdish forces making gains in both Iraq and Syria.

A spokesman in Iraq for the PKK, which has been fighting Turkey for autonomy since 1984 and is considered a terrorist organization by Ankara and its allies, said the strikes likely spelled the end of 2013 peace agreement.

Related: Turkey Blocks Twitter Over Images of ISIS Blast

"Turkey has basically ended the cease-fire," Zagros Hiwa told The Associated Press, declining to elaborate further. He said the PKK was still assessing the damage caused by the strikes, though they didn't appear to cause casualties.

The jets hit PKK shelters, bunkers, caves, storages facilities and other "logistical points," a statement from the Turkish prime minister's office said. It said areas targeted included the Qandil mountains, where the PKK's command is based.

The statement did not specify Islamic State targets that were struck in Syria in a second night of bombings, but described the airstrikes in both Syria and Iraq as being "effective."

Turkey's military also shelled ISIS and PKK positions in Syria from across the Turkish border, the government said.

Tensions have flared with Kurds in recent days after an Islamic State suicide bombing in the southeastern Turkish city of Suruc on Monday killed 32 people. Kurdish groups held the Turkish government responsible for the blast, saying it had not been aggressive in battling ISIS group.

On Wednesday, the PKK claimed responsibility for the killing of two Turkish police officers near the Kurdish majority city of Sanliurfa, near the Syrian border.

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