By Dildar Baykan and Omer Koparan
AZAZ, Syria/ANKARA, Turkey (AA) - The residents of Tal Rifaat in northern Aleppo and many Free Syrian Army (FSA) members asked Turkey to help liberate their lands from YPG/PKK terrorists.
Around 500 people, including civilians and members of FSA, asked Turkey to extend its Operation Olive Branch to Tal Rifaat city.
Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch on Jan. 20 to clear terrorist groups from Afrin, northwestern Syria amid growing threats from the region.
They chanted slogans against YPG/PKK terrorist group, and thanked Turkey for its operation in Afrin region.
Carrying Turkish and FSA flags, they were also holding banners which said: “We are looking forward to Tal Rifaat operation of Free Syrian Army backed by Turkish Armed Forces.”
In early 2016, YPG/PKK terrorists used Russia’s intense air support at a time when its ties with Turkey were tense, and had the opportunity to spread to the southeast from Afrin.
During its invasion of Tal Rifaat, the YPG/PKK forced around 250,000 Arabs out. Residents of the city sought refuge in Azaz, which is adjacent to the Euphrates Shield area and is under opposition control.
The terrorists started to accommodate Kurdish families in Tal Rifaat who they brought from Afrin. Currently, around 15,000-20,000 Kurds and Arabs live in the district and only 700-800 of them are Arab residents of Tal Rifaat.
Speaking at a ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party provincial congress on Sunday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: “God willing, we will achieve this operation’s goal by taking control of Tal Rifaat within short order.”
On Saturday, Syrian residents of Tal Rifaat staged another rally to demand a Turkish military operation against the YPG/PKK terrorist group in the city.