ANKARA — Turkey expanded its air campaign against Kurdish autonomous zones in Syria and Iraq on Friday, even as senior Biden administration officials held calls with their counterparts in Ankara to discuss deconfliction and counter-terrorism mechanisms.
The Turkish defense ministry said on Friday that its air forces destroyed 15 new targets on the second day of the operation in northern Syria. The new statement brings the total number of strikes to 45 in the last 48 hours. The ministry didn’t provide details on Friday's strikes, but according to local sources, Manbij, Kobane were among the targets.
On Thursday, the ministry said 30 targets were hit in Tell Rifaat, Derik and Jazeerah regions, “including an oil well and an oil storage facility … used by terrorists." Derik and Jazeerah have often been targeted by Turkish forces over the years, but Ankara has largely refrained from hitting Kurdish militants’ positions in Tell Rifaat, which is within the zone of Russian influence. As of this writing there has been no public reaction from Russia to the ongoing Turkish strikes.
On Friday, Turkish forces also conducted a pinpoint drone attack in the Iraqi Yazidi majority region of Sinjar. Citing security sources, the state-run Anadolu News Agency said militants who were allegedly in preparations for an attack on Turkish troops were “neutralized.”