Ankara launched a campaign of air strikes across northern Iraq and Syria on 20 November, as part of an armed operation against Kurdish factions
On 23 November, Turkish forces reportedly targeted the infamous Al-Hawl refugee detention camp in northern Syria, according to an official of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
The camp, which houses relatives of Islamic State militants, is under the control of the US-backed SDF.
“Turkish planes targeted the (Kurdish) Asayesh security forces with five strikes inside the camp,” said Farhad Chami, a spokesman for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
Chami also warned that “some IS families could flee the camp,” taking advantage of the chaos, after the bombings against Kurdish internal security forces, according to AFP.
The Turkish government launched Operation Claw-Sword on 20 November, intensifying air raids and artillery fire against Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) positions and the People’s Protection Units (YPG).
The Turkish government claims that the Kurdish militants are behind the recent attack in Istanbul, which killed six people and wounded 81 on 13 November in Istanbul.
“Our determination to protect all our southern borders (…) with a security zone is stronger today than ever,” said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to local media.
The head of state reiterated that he was considering launching a ground offensive “when the time is right.”
Erdogan specified his priority targets, citing the Syrian towns of Tal Rifat, Manbij, Ayn al-Arab (Kobane in Kurdish), to secure Turkey’s southern border by establishing a 30 km wide security zone.
Meanwhile, a Russian military base was reportedly struck on 23 November in the latest wave of Turkish air strikes in northeast Syria, according to a Kurdish official.
The Turkish military struck nearly 500 Kurdish targets in Iraq and Syria since it began a series of airstrikes on Sunday as part of Operation Claw-Sword, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said in a press conference, according to The New Arab.