By Enes Canli
ANKARA (AA) – Supporters of YPG/PKK terrorists on social media started a disinformation campaign about Turkey’s counter-terrorist military operation in northern Syria. They have posted falsified photos from Khojaly Massacre to mislead the international public.
The terror group supporters posted on social media an image of bodies of children, claiming that the Turkish military killed those children during anti-terror operations Olive Branch and Euphrates Shield in Syria.
In fact, it showed an image of bodies of children killed during the 1992 Khojaly Massacre.
The Khojaly Massacre is seen as one of the bloodiest incidents of the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan for control of the now-occupied Upper Karabakh region of Azerbaijan.
On the heels of the Soviet Union’s dissolution, Armenian forces took over the town of Khojaly in Karabakh on Feb. 26, 1992, after battering it with heavy artillery and tanks, assisted by an infantry regiment.
- Continuing smear campaign
Earlier, it had been revealed that the terrorist group ordered its supporters to share fake images and news online in an attempt to smear Turkey's counter-terrorist operations in 2016 and 2018.
Pictures shared by pro-YPG/PKK accounts on social media had turned out to be photos of war and massacre from years ago and thousands of miles away.
After Anadolu Agency had reported on them, some accounts posting such fake news and images were shut down.
- Operation Peace Spring
Turkey Wednesday has launched Operation Peace Spring east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria to secure its borders by eliminating terrorist elements and to ensure the safe return of Syrian refugees and Syria’s territorial integrity.
Turkey has said the terrorist group PKK and its extension the YPG/PYD constitute the biggest threat to Syria’s future, jeopardizing the country’s territorial integrity and unitary structure.
Ankara has also stressed that supporting terrorists under the pretext of fighting Daesh is unacceptable.
Turkey has a 911-kilometer (566-mi) border with Syria and it has long decried the threat from terrorists east of the Euphrates and the formation of a “terrorist corridor” there.
Turkey plans to resettle 2 million Syrians in a 30-km-wide (19-mi) safe zone to be set up in Syria, stretching from the Euphrates River to the Iraqi border, including Manbij. However, the presence of terror groups such as the PKK, PYD, and YPG risk its formation.
Turkey has rid an area of 4,000 square km (1,544 square miles) in Syria of terrorist groups in two separate cross-border operations. Since 2016, Turkey has conducted two major military operations in northwestern Syria -- Operation Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch -- to purge the region of the terrorist groups Daesh and the YPG, which is the Syrian branch of the terrorist group PKK.
The two operations were in line with the country’s right to self-defense borne out of international law, UN Security Council resolutions, especially no. 1624 (2005), 2170 (2014) and 2178 (2014), and under the right to self-defense under Article 51 of the UN Charter, while being respectful of Syria’s territorial integrity.
During Operation Euphrates Shield, Turkish forces neutralized 3,060 Daesh terrorists. Turkey has suffered greatly from Daesh attacks inside the country. More than 300 people have been killed in attacks claimed by Daesh in Turkey, where the terrorist group has targeted civilians in suicide bombings and armed attacks in recent years.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.
*Writing by Busra Nur Bilgic Cakmak