By Fatma Esma Arslan
ANKARA (AA) -The PYD/PKK terror group is using old pictures, including the winning photograph from Anadolu Agency’s 2016 Istanbul Photo Awards, in a black propaganda campaign on social media to mischaracterize Turkey’s Operation Olive Branch in Syria.
The terrorist organization and its supporters are so desperate in their attempts to produce black propaganda that they are using random images from websites.
Four photographs supposedly taken during the ongoing operation in northwestern Syria’s Afrin region turned out to be old pictures that were taken during various incidents in the past.
One picture shared on Twitter claimed: “Turkish soldiers taken hostage in Afrin". However, it turned out the photo was shot by Anadolu Agency on March 3, 2014, and showed 20 soldiers who had been executed by the Daesh terror organization in Iraq.
Two other photos shared on Twitter with the hashtags #TerroristTurkey and #SaveAfrin showing injured kids also belong to Anadolu Agency. The pictures are actually from a Russian airstrike on Aleppo city in Syria and were taken on Oct. 11, 2016, and on July 11, 2016.
Pro-PKK accounts shared another photograph which was the winner of the AA Istanbul Photo Awards in 2016 as if it was recently shot in Afrin. The award-winning photograph shows a child who was injured in Aleppo two years ago. They shared the photo on social media with the hashtag #Afrinwillwin.
The fake photos circulated online by the terror groups supposedly about Turkey’s Afrin operation have been exposed by Anadolu Agency. Their "Afrin lies" on social media have now reached the saturation point.
- All online claims false
Black propaganda and perception management against the Turkish military began soon after Turkey launched the operation, with supporters of the PYD/PKK terrorist organization posting fake and distorted photographs on social media falsely claiming they were from Afrin.
The PKK terror group has given instructions to its supporters to share fake images and news online in an attempt to overshadow Turkey's ongoing Afrin operation.
In the last several days, at least 10 pictures shared by pro-PYD/PKK accounts on social media turned out to be old photographs that had been taken during different incidents in the past.
The pictures were taken before Operation Olive Branch began. Some accounts posting such fake news and images were shut down after Anadolu Agency did a story on them.
The PYD/PKK terror group is occupying one-fourth of Syria and 65 percent of the Syria-Turkey border.
According to the Turkish General Staff, Operation Olive Branch aims to establish security and stability along Turkish borders and the region as well as to protect the Syrian people from the oppression and cruelty of terrorists.
The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey’s rights based on international law, UN Security Council decisions, 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 importance" is being given to not harming any civilians.
Afrin has been a major hideout for the PYD/PKK since July 2012 when the regime of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad left the city to the terror group without putting up a fight.