By Burak Karacaoglu and Esref Musa
AFRIN/IDLIB, Syria (AA) - The PYD/PKK terrorist organization is keeping over 1,000 innocent civilians in captivity, having released Daesh prisoners on the condition that they would fight against the Turkish army and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in Syria's Afrin region, local sources said Thursday.
The terrorist group struck a deal with Daesh terrorists to use them as a tool against Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in Afrin, the sources told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity due to security concerns.
The PYD/PKK curtailed the freedom of many civilians who were fleeing the clashes between Kurdish and Arab opposition groups, putting them in prisons in the townships of Rajo and Jinderes to the west of Afrin, as well as in cells hidden underground.
The number of civilians being held in prisons, with no official charges against them, is estimated at 1,100. It was also reported that some of the detainees were told they were “convicted” for life.
A large number of civilians -- mostly Kurds and Arabs from Humus, Idlib, Aleppo, and Afrin -- are being subjected to severe torture by the terrorist organization, the sources said, adding, however, that it was members of the Kurdish opposition being tortured in the most brutal way.
Fahad Moosa, a lawyer engaged in humanitarian diplomacy activities in Syria, said they had been in talks with the organization since April to free the civilians detained without charges, but had so far been unsuccessful.
“The PYD/PKK has presented no reasons for the detainments,” he said.
While confirming that the organization was indeed keeping over 1,000 innocent civilians, Moosa said that a dossier containing details of the issue had been presented to UN institutions as well as the delegations and NGOs participating in Astana talks.
On Saturday, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to remove PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin.
According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkish borders and the region as well as to protect the Syrian people from the oppression and cruelty of terrorists.
The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey’s rights based on international law, UN Security Council’s decisions, self-defense rights under the UN charter and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, it said.
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 putting up a fight.