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Turkey says Ankara attack assailants trained in Syria

Hakan Fidan

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan (Photo by Adem ALTAN / AFP)

Turkey said on Wednesday that two suspected Kurdish militants who died while staging a weekend attack in Ankara had been trained in Syria, Agence France-Presse reported.

Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said Turkey now reserved the right to strike a broader range of Kurdish targets in both Syria and Iraq in retaliation for Sunday’s attack.

Turkish police shot dead one of the assailants while the other died in an apparent suicide blast outside Turkey’s interior ministry.

Two policemen were injured in the incident.

“As a result of the work of our security forces, it has become clear that the two terrorists came from Syria and were trained there,” Fidan said in televised comments.

“From now on, all infrastructure, large facilities and energy facilities belonging to (armed Kurdish groups) in Iraq and Syria are legitimate targets for our security forces.”

A branch of the Kurdish PKK militia — listed as a terror group by Turkey and its Western allies — claimed responsibility for Sunday’s attack, the first in Ankara since 2016.

Turkey conducted air raids against PKK targets in Iraq hours later.

Fidan’s comments suggest that Turkey could expand its air strikes to include war-torn Syria.

Syria’s Kurds have carved out a semi-autonomous area in the country’s north and east.

US-supported Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) — the Kurds’ de facto army in the area — led the battle that dislodged Islamic State group fighters from the last scraps of their Syrian territory in 2019.

But Turkey views the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) that dominate the SDF as an offshoot of the PKK.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has repeatedly threatened to expand attacks against the YPG.

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