Turkey denies airstrikes in northern Syria

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Turkey denies airstrikes in northern Syria

The Turkish Ministry of Defense Press Office released a file handout image on June 17, 2020, showing Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar looking at a map with members of the Turkish Armed Forces Command during a meeting at the Army Command Control Center in Ankara during the military operation called Claw-Tiger on June 17, 2020. On June 17, 2020, T rkiye launched an air and ground offensive against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq. HANDOUT AFP ANKARA - Turkish defense minister Hulusi Akar refuted allegations that a Turkish airstrike launched as part of the country's offensive against the mainly-Kurdish People's Protection Units YPG militia, hit a position of US coalition forces in northern Syria.

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It is out of the question for us to harm coalition forces or civilians, Semi-official Anadolu Agency quoted Akar as saying.

He added that our most important principle is not to harm civilians and the environment.

Akar told reporters that the operation, dubbed Claw-Sword, continues with air and ground support fires against the targets, which has so far neutralized 326 terrorists. Turkish authorities often use the term neutralize to imply that terrorists are killed, wounded or captured in security operations.

T rkiye carried out an aerial attack on Sunday against the YPG in northern Syria and the Kurdistan Workers' Party PKK in northern Iraq.

The US Central Command said on Wednesday that a Turkish drone strike on a base in Syria had put US troops at risk as a result of a Turkish drone strike on a base in Syria a day earlier in the day.

The US command said in a statement that additional information was received that there was a risk to US troops and personnel.

No US service members were injured in the strike, it added, without elaborating on the location.

A base close to Hasakah city in Syria is used by the US-led coalition and the YPG-affiliated Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces to fight Islamic State IS militants.

The Operation Claw-Sword was launched after a bomb explosion in Istanbul's largest city on November 13 that killed six people and injured 81 others.

After the attack, Turkish police said they had detained a Syrian woman named Ahlam Albashir, who admitted to taking orders from the YPG, which Ankara considered the Syrian branch of the PKK.

The PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by T rkiye, the United States and the European Union, has rebelled against the Turkish government for over three decades.