By Fatma Esma Arslan
ANKARA (AA) - Continuing its effort to smear Turkey’s current military operation in Afrin, Syria, the terrorist PYD/PKK on Tuesday posted 10-year-old photos online in an effort to mislead the public about Turkish martyrs.
With the false label "Many Turkish soldiers killed in Afrin, Syria," supporters of the PYD/PKK terror group posted a 2007 photo of the funeral of 12 guards and civilians martyred by the PKK in Sirnak, southeastern Turkey.
The terror group has ordered supporters to share fake images and news online in an attempt to smear Turkey's ongoing counter-terrorist operation.
Another picture shared on Twitter claimed, "Civilians are being targeted by Turkish army," but the picture was actually taken on July 8, 2015 accompanying a story on “How 250 Syrian Christians were kidnapped from Aleppo to Belgium."
Another photo shared on social media alleging a “massacre” in Afrin showed an injured infant, but in fact the picture was taken in Iraq and shared online four months ago.
Pro-PYD/PKK terror group accounts last week even posted a photo which won Anadolu Agency’s Istanbul Photo Awards in 2016, misrepresenting it as having been shot in Afrin.
This continued a pattern of pictures on pro-PYD/PKK social media accounts turning out to be photos from years ago and thousands of miles away.
The photos preceded Operation Olive Branch and are completely unrelated.
After Anadolu Agency reported on them, some accounts posting such fake news and images were shut down.
Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin last week warned against misinformation being spread about the operation, saying: “We call on the public, especially the media, to guard against provocative news, images, and rumors which have false, sham, and distorted contents.”
Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch on Jan. 20 to remove 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 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.
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.