By Soner Kilinc
AFRIN, Syria (AA) - Four elderly villagers, including a Kurdish couple, who were recently rescued by Turkish soldiers in northwestern Syria, narrated their ordeal to Anadolu Agency on Saturday.
The soldiers found the villagers with their hands tied in a barn at Maskah village in northwestern Afrin on Friday. They were surrounded by mines and improvised explosives.
They were rescued as part of Operation Olive Branch launched by Turkey on Jan. 20 to clear YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorist organisations from Afrin.
Sukru Osman (90), Nazli Osman (75), Hasan Muslim (65) and Hussein Sheikh Bakir (64) were recovered from the barn, and moved to a safer village.
Osman said a group of YPG/PKK terrorists had imprisoned him, his wife, his brother and a relative of his wife, before fleeing the village following the arrival of Turkish soldiers.
"After they tied our hands, they set up explosives around us. The Turkish soldiers came in the evening and saved us. They gave us food and brought us here."
Osman added that the terrorists had occupied their village five years ago, and only fled when they saw the Turkish soldiers.
- 'May Allah bless Turkish soldiers'
Osman's wife Nazli said: "My husband is paralyzed. They locked us in the house and left. We were pretty scared.
"The Turkish soldiers came and rescued us ... One of the soldiers put his head on my lap. I loved him like my son, and stroked his hair. May Allah bless them all."
She added that four of her children had taken shelter in Turkey fearing persecution by YPG/PKK terrorists.
Her brother Muslim said he had earlier escaped violence by the Bashar al-Assad regime in Aleppo and had arrived at his daughter's house for shelter. But there he was tortured by the YPG/PKK.
"Yesterday [on Friday], the YPG terrorists trapped us when they learned Turkish soldiers were about to arrive at the [Maskah] village.
"The soldiers saved us. They examined us, gave us food and brought us to this [other] village.
"We are safe here. May Allah bless them."
Bakir said after he lost his wife, his four children had taken refuge in Turkey.
"YPG/PKK terrorists took away everything we had," he said.
According to the Turkish General Staff, the Afrin operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey's borders and the region as well as protect Syrians from terrorist cruelty and oppression.
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.
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.