NEW: PKK attack kills 2 Turkish soldiers
Turkey takes out PKK positions in northern Iraq
Rockets from ISIS strongholds in Syria hit Turkey; 5 hurt
Turkish warplanes extended the country’s cross-border military operations on Monday, slamming ISIS strongholds in Syria and pounding Kurdish militants in Iraq, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
Three rockets fired from ISIS-controlled territory in northern Syria into the Turkish province of Kilis struck a residential building and landed in two fields, injuring five children, the provincial governor said, according to Anadolu.
After the Turkish armed forces located the positions where the rockets were launched, they fired back into Syria, destroying eight targets.
The injured children were between ages 5 and 11, with the oldest in critical condition, according to an Anadolu hospital source.
This year, more than 20 people have died in Kilis, with the mortar shells fired from ISIS-held territory.
Turkey launched an offensive last week to oust ISIS jihadis and fighters from the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units – also known as the YPG – from a swath of northern Syria.
Turkish forces, PKK square off in Iraq, Turkey
Anadolu reported that Turkey also launched airstrikes in northern Iraq on Monday against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, known by its acronym, the PKK.
There was no immediate word about deaths or injuries in the airstrikes, carried out by four fighter jets in the Avasin-Basyan region.
There is a large Kurdish presence in a semiautonomous region of northern Iraq. The country’s Kurdistan Regional Government governs the three provinces that make up the region.
In Turkey, both the government and militants racked up losses on Monday.
Two Turkish soldiers were killed and three others were injured when PKK fighters opened fire at security forces in Hakkari province in the southeast of the country during a military operation against the group, Anadolu said.
Also, a security source told Anadolu that two PKK fighters were killed in an operation on Monday in Van province.
Both Van and Hakkari are in Turkey’s southeast.
The PKK – classified as a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union – has waged a bloody insurgency in Turkey since 1984 in which tens of thousands have died. Its initial goal was to establish an independent Kurdish state, but it later demanded autonomy within Turkey.
A ceasefire between Turkey and the PKK ended last year. Anadolu noted the group resumed its attacks against Turkey in July 2015.
Since then, it said, more than 600 security personnel, including troops, police officers and village guards, have been killed and more than 7,000 PKK fighters have been killed during operations in northern Iraq and Turkey.
The YPG is an ally of the United States in the war against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, but the Turkish government views that group as a PKK affiliate.
Erdogan gives his take on battles
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addressed the country’s battles in a written statement to commemorate the country’s Victory Day holiday on Tuesday, August 30.
“Turkey will not differentiate between terrorist organizations, and [will] take all the necessary steps inside and outside its borders – in the neighboring countries where terrorist organizations settle – to ensure the security of its citizens.”
He spoke about last week’s operation in Jarablus, where pro-Turkish rebels with the help of the Turkish military ousted ISIS, saying it was an example of the country’s commitment against terrorism. Turkey since hammered targets around the town with artillery strikes.
“Our operations will continue until Daesh, PKK and its Syrian branch, YPG, are no longer a threat to our citizens,” he said. Daesh is another name for ISIS.
CNN’s Isil Sariyuce reported from Gaziantep. CNN’s Joe Sterling and Hande Atay Alam reported from Atlanta.