By Muslum Etgu and Abdullah Asiran
SANLIURFA, Turkey / HENGELO, Netherlands (AA) - The terrorist group PYD/PKK kidnaps children in villages they raid, forcing them to take up arms, victims of the group told Anadolu Agency.
In an exclusive interview, veteran Syrian journalist Mudar Hamad Assad said the country's north "must be cleared of terrorism."
"When they occupy a village, the PYD/PKK first kidnap children and then arm them. Since children don’t know how to fight, they die quickly," he said.
Assad also said the PYD/PKK "constantly lie" to Russia that Syrian opposition forces are present in the region, so that they bomb the villages that "our relatives live in," causing the deaths of civilians and destroying the villages.
"More people will die if the U.S. continue to arm terrorist groups in Syria," he said, referring to U.S. support for the PYD/PKK, which the U.S. has called a “reliable ally” in the fight against Daesh, despite Turkey documenting that it is the Syrian wing of the terrorist PKK.
The journalist also gave some details about what the PYD/PKK have done to his personal life, saying that he had to give up his profession despite having 20 years of experience.
"We had no choice but to flee our homes, because either you escape or you have to obey their rules," he said.
"My wife, my children, my sisters and brothers and I sometimes had to walk long distances, first to Tal-Abyad then to Jarabulus and finally Karkamis,” in Turkey's border province of Gaziantep, he said.
"During the walk, we lost my brother's wife and my two nephews due to mines. We suffered a lot for freedom."
-Operation Olive Branch
Hamad Assad also declared his support to the ongoing Operation Olive Branch, which the Turkish Armed Forces and Free Syrian Army launched on Jan. 20 to remove PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Syria's Afrin region.
"Our people are looking forward to the day that we return to our homes," he said.
According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey’s borders and the region as well as to 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 importance" is being put on avoiding harming 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.
Speaking in Hengelo, the Netherlands, Johny Messo, head of the World Council of Arameans (Syriacs), told Anadolu Agency that the PKK's armed wing the terrorist YPG "kidnaps Assyrian, Arab, and Kurdish children to force them to fight."
"These kidnappings are nothing new, it happened last year too," Messo said. "The YPG and PYD are using Assyrians to persuade the world that 'true' democracy would come to the Middle East."
"Unfortunately, some Assyrians believe those words but they’re a small bunch, we know that what the YPG does on the ground is the opposite of what they say."
Messo said in years past, the YPG terrorist group found the opportunity in Syria to oppress locals, including Assyrians.
"There are lots of things going on in northern Syria, but people are afraid to tell the truth to the world," Messo said. "People flee due to the oppression. The Western media fail to cover this side of the story."