By Mohamad Misto, Burak Karacaoglu, Adham Kako and Levent Tok
AYN ISA, Syria (AA) - The YPG/PKK terror group on Sunday set a camp on fire in the Ayn Isa district in northern Syria, where they were holding captured Daesh detainees and their families.
“Today at 11.00 a.m. local time [800GMT], senior members of the [terrorist] organization came to the camp and took all of the civilian employees out of the camp [...] At around 13.30 p.m. [1000GMT], we saw that a fire started in the camp area and the smoke was increasing. When our friends went to see as to what was happening, they saw that offices were burning. If the detainees and families had set this fire on their own, our offices would not have been damaged. Our offices are separate from a place where Daesh people and their families were held. This fire was set by the [terror] group itself. They took us out before they set the fire and it is a proof that they initiated the fire," a civil servant told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity due to security reasons.
A civil servant added that thousands of Daesh terrorists, their families and other civilians -- who were held in the region -- were fleeing the camp area.
Nearly 5,000 people, including 2,000 Daesh terrorists and their families, were held in the camp. Another 3,000 people were the civilians who had fled other Syrian districts due to the conflict.
Ayn Isa is at about 35 kilometers (21.7 miles) from Turkey’s border.
Turkey on Wednesday launched Operation Peace Spring in northern Syria to secure its borders by eliminating terrorists there and to ensure the safe return of Syrian refugees and Syria’s territorial integrity.
Ankara plans to resettle two million Syrians in a 30-km-wide (19-miles) proposed safe zone in Syria, stretching from the Euphrates River to the Iraqi border, including Manbij. However, the presence of terror groups such as the PKK, PYD, and YPG risk its formation.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union -- has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.
*Writing by Gozde Bayar