By Burak Karacaoglu, Esref Musa
IDLIB, Syria (AA) – Locals in areas cleared of PYD/PKK terrorists during Turkey's ongoing Operation Olive Branch told Anadolu Agency that the group was forcibly recruiting their children.
On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to clear PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin, northwestern Syria.
In Deir Ballut village in Jandaris, western Afrin, locals told Anadolu Agency of the oppression they had gone through at the hands of PYD/PKK.
On Feb. 10, Turkish soldiers and Free Syrian Army fighters liberated the village in western Afrin from PYD/PKK terrorists.
Halime el Mansur, a local in the village said: “One person from every family has to join them. If there is no male, a female from the family has to join. We don’t want to give away our girls but they force us.”
Muhammed Allus, another villager, reiterated the terrorist group forces them to join its ranks.
"We could not openly express our views against PYD/PKK. When the FSA came, they cared about us. We are happy," he said.
Fatima Halebi, 65, is another local in the village.
“When the operation began, it was very violent. At first, we were very afraid. We hid in our houses. When the FSA [fighters] came, our children called out ‘we are civilians’. To be honest, my feet were trembling at that moment, but the FSA has been very good to us,” Halebi added.
She added that the terrorist group targeted them because they were Arab.
“Our situation at the moment is much better than before," she said.
Ebu Huzeyfe is another villager. He said that the PYD/PKK forcibly took away their children.
He added that they also prisoned civilians.
According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey’s borders and the region as well as 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 has also said that only terrorist targets are being destroyed and "utmost care" is being taken to avoid harming any civilians.
Afrin has been a major hideout for the PYD/PKK since July 2012, when the Assad regime in Syria left the city to the terror group without a fight.