By Adham Kako
ANKARA (AA) – Terrorist YPG/PKK presence in the Syrian city of Tal Rifaat impedes economic development in the region, a local official said on Wednesday.
“Agriculture is the main source of income for the people in the region. The YPG is bombing agricultural lands to besiege the Mare people economically,” said Omer Kor Bilal, deputy council chief in Syria’s Mare district.
Tal Rifaat is a city in northern Aleppo Governorate, northwestern Syria. Mare is a district located on the east of Syrian city.
“The terrorist organization is doing its best to prevent farmers from going to their land and to destroy the agricultural infrastructure,” he added.
The PKK is a group listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU. The YPG is the Syrian branch of the terror group.
Bilal also said the existence of YPG/PKK also affects the operation of the council negatively.
“Last year, we started [rehabilitation] efforts after heavy rains [in the region]. However, the terrorists targeted one of our employees with a rocket,” Bilal said.
Stressing that the council is working hard to meet the needs of the people of the region, Bilal said that clearing Tal Rifaat of the YPG/PKK would have positive effects in the region.
The eastern part of Syria’s Afrin region is comprised of two districts: Tal Rifaat, currently occupied by the terrorist group, and Azaz, which remains under the control of Syrian opposition forces.
Since 2016, Turkey has conducted two major military operations in northwestern Syria -- Operations Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch -- to purge the region of terrorist groups Daesh and the YPG, which is the Syrian branch of the terrorist organization PKK.
However, a number of liberated cities -- including Al-Bab, Jarablus, Azaz and Afrin -- remain subject to sporadic terrorist attacks from Tal Rifaat.
* Writing by Busra Nur Bilgic Cakmak