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ISTANBUL:Turkey’s armed forces have attacked 471 targets since the beginning of the latest military offensive in northern Iraq and Syria. A total of “254 terrorists have been neutralised,” Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said on Wednesday. “The operation will continue with attacks from the air and with land-based guns,” Akar added. He gave no details about possible civilian casualties. The details of the attacks and the number of casualties could not be independently verified. Since Saturday night, Turkey has been carrying out airstrikes on the Syrian Kurdish militia the People’s Defence Units (YPG) in northern Syria and on the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in northern Iraq. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has signalled that his country will launch ground offensives to follow up on recent airstrikes on Kurdish positions in Syria and Iraq. The Turkish government has linked its airstrikes to an attack on Istanbul’s Istiklal shopping street over a week ago. It sees the YPG and the PKK as the masterminds behind the attack, but both have denied this. The investigation is still ongoing, the exact circumstances of the attack are unclear. (DPA)

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