MIDDLE EAST

Syrian Kurds fear returning home due to PYD/PKK threat

SYRIAN KURDS FEAR RETURNING HOME DUE TO PYD/PKK THREAT

Fleeing fierce clashes between terror groups Daesh and PYD/PKK in the Syrian town of Kobani nearly four years ago, Syrian Kurdish refugees are afraid of returning home because of the threats posed by the latter.

Around 30,000 Kurds sought refuge in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa in Kobani, known as Ayn al-Arab in Arabic, in 2014.

Even though the situation there has quietened down considerably, people still have reasons to fear for their lives.

"If we return home, they [PYD/PKK militants] will force my son to take up arms with them. According to what I heard, they are unfortunately recruiting girls as well," Şemsi Ali, a mother of eleven, told Anadolu Agency.

The 74-year-old is living in a tent camp in Şanlıurfa's Suruç district. She pointed out that the PYD/PKK was controlling everything in Kobani.

"How can I give my children to them [terror organizations]?" she asked.

"That's why I am not returning home. My children do not want to return either, because they fear persecution by the PYD," she added.

Ali's house and lands in the town were seized by the terror organization and they now have nothing left.

- NO DİFFERENCE BETWEEN DAESH, PYD/PKK
Neceh Mohammed, also living in the Suruc tent camp for four years now, holds similar views to Ali.

Mothering three daughters, Mohammed told Anadolu Agency that because they were not a part of them, PYD militants had burnt their houses in Kobani.

"They have no difference from Daesh. Both are persecuting the people. If we were living there now, they would recruit my children.

"We will never allow our girls to be used like this. As long as the PYD/YPG is there, we will never return home," she said.

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity. This led to a military conflict between the Syrian opposition groups and the Assad regime over the war-torn country's territory.

Hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed in the conflict mainly during regime airstrikes targeting opposition-held areas while millions more have been displaced. The Assad regime has been accused by many international actors of using chemical weapons against Syrian civilians.

The PYD/PKK is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK, which has been designated a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and the EU.

Since the mid-1980s, the PKK has waged a wide-ranging terror campaign against the Turkish state in which an estimated 40,000 people have been killed.

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