Turkish military launches operation against militants in northern Iraq

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Turkey’s military launched an operation with commandos, backed by artillery and air strikes, against Kurdish militants in northern Iraq, the defense ministry said on Tuesday.

The military action began with artillery and air strikes on Monday afternoon and the operation by commando brigades began at 8 pm (1700 GMT) to “neutralize terrorists and destroy their shelters” in an area across the border from Turkey’s most southeastern region, the ministry said in a statement.

In a related development, Turkey has equipped Syrian armed factions it backs with fresh supplies of weaponry to help them try to repel a major Russian-backed assault, senior opposition officials and other sources said.

Russia is backing the Syrian army’s large aerial and ground assault as it seeks to gain control of the last big stretch of territory held by armed groups in the northwest of the country.

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