By Omer Koparan and Ethem Emre Ozcan
AZAZ, Syria (AA) - Over the past six years, YPG/PKK terrorists have displaced nearly 250,000 civilians in Syria's Tal Rifaat, forcing them to seek refuge close to the Turkish border.
Most of the civilians whose relatives were killed by the terrorist organization live in the opposition-controlled Azaz district in makeshift tents
Anadolu Agency spoke to the internally displaced persons (IDPs).
Haj Ali Muhammed, one such person, said: “When the attacks occurred, we left our house and hid under the olive trees for about 10 days. We tried to migrate to a safe zone."
"As a result of the firing, two of my sons lost their lives. I am looking after five orphans now."
Longing for home, he said: "We will not leave our homes to the terrorist organization, we will definitely return [...] Maybe I will not be able to go back, but we look at our village from the frontline every day. I tell my grandchildren about our village and its stories. Even if I don't, my grandchildren will definitely return."
Mostafa Ibrahim Akkas said that he took shelter with his family in Azaz after YPG/PKK attacks on their village, Meranaz, north of Tal Riffat.
The 46-year-old father said he lost one of his sons in a YPG/PKK attack.
He said the terrorist group is trying to disunite Arabs and Kurds in the region.
"We do not have a problem with the Kurds. The terrorist organization has no place in Syria. I want not only my village but all of Syria to be cleared of this terrorist organization," Akkas said.
The terrorist organization, which captured Tal Rifaat in February 2016 with Russian air support, frequently attacks Turkish forces and opposition fighters -- who provide security to civilian settlements in the Operation Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch regions.
The attacks often target the northern Syrian regions of Azaz, Marea, Al-Bab, Jarablus, Afrin, Tal Abyad, and Ras al-Ayn.
Since 2016, Ankara has launched a trio of successful anti-terror operations across its border in northern Syria to prevent the formation of a terror corridor and enable the peaceful settlement of residents: Euphrates Shield (2016), Olive Branch (2018), and Peace Spring (2019).
In its over 35-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US, and EU – has been responsible for the deaths of at least 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants. The YPG is PKK's Syrian offshoot.
*Writing by Seda Sevencan in Istanbul