Turkey Strikes IS in Syria, Kurds in Iraq

Turkey Strikes IS in Syria, Kurds in IraqTurkey Strikes IS in Syria, Kurds in Iraq

The Turkish military on Saturday carried out a second wave of strikes against targets controlled by Islamic State militants in Syria and embarked on a new air campaign to bombard camps of Kurdish forces in northern Iraq.

The two-pronged operation against IS and fighters from the Kurdistan Workers Party came after a week of deadly violence in Turkey, blamed on the organizations, AFP reported.

The raids against IS, which had begun before dawn Friday, marked a major shift in policy towards the group by key NATO member Turkey. But Turkish warplanes also bombed positions of the PKK in neighboring Iraq, where the outlawed group's military forces are based.

"Strikes were carried out on targets of the IS in Syria and the PKK in northern Iraq," the office of Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in a statement. It said shelters and warehouses containing PKK weapons were hit in the northern Iraq operation, listing seven locations where the strikes had been carried out including Mount Kandil, where the PKK's military leadership is based.

NATO and the United Nations have been kept informed of the operations, the Turkish statement said.

The Turkish F-16 jets all returned safely to their base in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir early Saturday after the latest raids, the official Anatolia news agency reported.

In addition to the air raids, Turkish ground forces also carried out artillery strikes against IS in Syria and the PKK in northern Iraq, the statement said.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also said areas in north Syria cleared of IS militants will become safe zones.

"We have always defended safe zones and no-fly zones in Syria. People who have been displaced can be placed in those safe zones."