By Ekrem Payan
SIRNAK, Turkey (AA) - Among thousands of Turks nationwide volunteering to take part in Turkey's military operation in northwestern Syria is an octogenarian patriot.
Sadik Gungor, 81, a retired security guard from the southeastern province of Sirnak, applied to a nearby Gendarmerie Command Station to join the Afrin operation to fight PYD/PKK terrorists.
Gungor, a father of nine, shared his tragic personal experience of PYD/PKK terrorists killing people in the region.
“They burned my elder brother to death. They killed many people in our area, including women and children,” he told Anadolu Agency.
“The PKK has no religion. We never abandoned the fight against them. We will continue our fight until the last terrorist is killed.”
He added: “I love my country and I support my state. If President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan orders it, I will go to Afrin. Even at this age, I want to fight terrorism together with [Turkish soldiers]. I will fight against the enemy with the Turkish military in Afrin, and I’m not afraid of anyone."
Saying that he is ready to go to Afrin with his nine children if needed, Gungor said: "I may not fight like our soldiers but I could boost their morale and load their gun magazines."
In his application form, Gungor wrote: “I have been fighting tirelessly for years against all terrorist groups, and I will continue to do so. Although I am 81 years old, I would like to voluntarily join this operation [in Afrin] in order to support our security forces and to be a martyr, if necessary.”
A group of blind citizens from the central Turkish province of Nevsehir have also expressed their interest in joining the fight.
Erol Mutlu, head of the Association of Culture and Unity of Blind People, submitted an application to the military in the city.
“We have a cross-border operation. Our soldiers are there now. Our eyes don’t see but our hearts do,” he said.
“We volunteered for military service to support them. We want a commander to accept us in the military and send us across the border.”
In the Aegean province of Izmir, 2,500 members of the All-Retired Special Operations Police Officers Organizations also volunteered to take part in the operation.
Around 380 hunters of the Akdogan Hunters Association in the northeastern Turkish province of Tokat also volunteered.
These people joined thousands of civilians nationwide, including civil servants and teachers, continuing their support for the military operation in Afrin.
On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to clear PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin, northwestern Syria.
According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey’s borders and the region as well as to protect Syrians from terrorist oppression and cruelty.
The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey's rights based on international law, UN Security Council resolutions, its self-defense rights under the UN charter, and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, it said.
The military also said only terror targets were being destroyed and the "utmost care and sensitivity" were being used to not harm civilians.