Turkish ground operation into Syria among some options after Ankara bombing: Official

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A ground operation into Syria is one option Turkey could consider, a defense ministry official said on Thursday after Ankara found the two attackers who set off a bomb near government buildings at the weekend had come from Syria.

“Our only goal is to eliminate the terrorist organizations that pose a threat to Turkey. A ground operation is one of the options to eliminate this threat, but it is not the only option for us,” the official said.

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Turkey has redoubled its operations targeting the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) after it claimed the bomb attack in Ankara, by carrying out airstrikes in northern Iraq.

Turkish officials said any infrastructure and energy facilities in Iraq and Syria controlled by the PKK, as well as People’s Protection Units (YPG), were legitimate military targets.

Ankara sees the YPG as the Syrian wing of the PKK.

“The PKK and the YPG are the same terrorist organization, they are our legitimate target everywhere. Turkey conducted operations whenever and wherever necessary in the past, and these operations will continue if needed again,” the defense ministry official said.

“These operations are being conducted under self-defense rights arising from international law to eliminate terrorist attacks on Turkish territory and to ensure border security.”

The YPG is also the spearhead of the main ally of the US-led coalition against ISIS. Support for the YPG by the United States and other allies, including France, has strained ties with Ankara.

Turkey has warned forces of third countries to stay away from facilities controlled by the PKK and YPG.

“We are calling on all parties, our friendly and allied countries in particular, to stay away from those terrorists. This is just a reminder. It is up to them to take necessary precautions,” the official said, without naming any country.

Read more:

Turkey ‘neutralized’ mastermind of 2007 PKK terrorist attack on Turkish troops

Turkey carries out new air strikes in northern Iraq after Ankara bomb attack

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