Syrian woman sentenced to life in prison for deadly Istanbul bombing in 2022

A court on Friday sentenced a Syrian woman to life in prison for a deadly explosion on a busy shopping district in 2022, Turkey’s state-run news agency reported. Alham Albashir was given seven consecutive life sentences after being convicted on terrorism charges. On Nov. 13, 2022 tore through Istiklal Avenue, a thoroughfare in Istanbul lined with shops and restaurants, killing six people, including two children, and wounding 99 others. According to an indictment prepared by Istanbul prosecutors last year, Albashir and a man named as Bilal el-Hacmaus were intelligence operatives of the YPG, a Syrian Kurdish militia group, and its political branch, the PYD. Turkey regards the YPG as the affiliate of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, which has waged a decades-long insurgency within Turkey to establish an autonomous region in southeastern Turkey. Albashir and el-Hamaus were given special training by the YPG and PYD and sent to Turkey along with explosives, where they traveled to Istanbul with the help of a network established by the organization, the indictment said. El-Hacmaus managed to flee the country. The fight between the PKK and Turkey has claimed tens of thousands of lives since the 1980s and Turkey and its Western allies have labelled PKK a terrorist organization.