ISTANBUL, Turkey — Turkish warplanes attacked dozens of Kurdish rebel targets in Iraq on Monday as part of a U.S.-backed campaign to chip away at guerrilla strength while avoiding the risks of a ground-based offensive across the border.
The planes hit 70 targets that were “detected and verified by intelligence sources,” the Turkish military said, in a possible reference to the U.S. intelligence it is receiving.
The Turkish government has fought for more than two decades against Kurdish rebels who seek autonomy in southeastern Turkey. For years, the PKK rebel group has launched attacks into Turkish territory from northern Iraq.
Washington has pressed Turkey, a NATO ally, to act with relative restraint so that peaceful areas of northern Iraq do not succumb to the upheaval experienced elsewhere in the country.
Turkey’s military says its raids have inflicted heavy losses on the PKK, killing up to 175 rebels and destroying command and logistic centers, shelters and ammunition depots. PKK officials have disputed claims that their operations have been thrown into disarray, and military analysts have speculated that guerrillas dispersed months ago as airstrikes loomed.