MIDDLE EAST

YPG/PKK turning civilian settlements into human shields

A fighter from the People's Protection Units, or YPG, stands inside a post where U.S. troops were based, in Tal Abyad town, at the Syrian-Turkish border, Syria, Oct. 7, 2019. (AP Photo)

The YPG/PKK is preparing to use civilian settlements as human shields as Turkey prepares to launch a peace operation into northern Syria.

Terrorists at armed posts in Tal Abyad across from Turkey's southeastern border district of Akçakale are relocating and moving into civilian dwellings.

Some of them, also in civilian clothes, are patrolling on motorcycles. Some elders and women are leaving their houses though the terrorists do not allow the young people to depart.

A number of high-ranking terrorists have sent their families to Raqqa and Qamishli by car.

Meanwhile, scores of military vehicles and terrorists in Ayn al-Arab, Raqqa, and Deir Ez-Zor are advancing to Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ayn.

The developments came ahead of a military operation by Turkey and the Free Syrian Army (FSA). Turkey has long decried the threat from terrorists east of the Euphrates in northern Syria, pledging military action to prevent the formation of a "terrorist corridor" there.

Since 2016, Turkey's Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch operations in northwestern Syria have liberated the region from YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists, making it possible for Syrians who fled the violence to return home.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union -- has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is the Syrian branch of the terrorist PKK.

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