Armenian church opens doors to worshipers in Tal Abyad
"While maintenance and renewal are being undertaken in all fields to meet the needs of the locals, the Armenian Church in Tal Abyad which the PKK/YPG extensively damaged after using it as a military HQ is being reconditioned from top to bottom," Turkey's Defense Ministry said in a written statement on Sunday.
An Armenian church in northern Syria, which was formerly used as a headquarters by YPG/PKK terror group, opened to worship on Sunday.
Turkey repaired the church in Tal Abyad district, the country's Defense Ministry announced Saturday in a statement.
"While maintenance and renewal are being undertaken in all fields to meet the needs of the locals, the Armenian Church in Tal Abyad which the PKK/YPG extensively damaged after using it as a military HQ is being reconditioned from top to bottom," said the statement.
The first mass in the church was held Sunday. Armenians living in Tal Abyad came to the church, lit candles and prayed.
Um Ilyas from the Armenian community said he was happy to be able to pray in the church after so many years.
"Thanks to Turkey we are able to come here for worship again," said Ilyas.
"Now, everyone lives peacefully and happily here. Many thanks to everyone who contributed to our country, we are all brothers," he added.
Maria Kadmus, a fourth grader, came to the church with her mother and thanked everyone who contributed to the reopening of the church.
YPG/PKK terror group uses civilian settlements and places of worship as a cover to target Turkey after Ankara launched a counter terror operation in northern Syria.
Snipers of the terror group use minarets of mosques to target anti-terror units in the region.
Turkey on Oct. 9 launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate YPG/PKK terrorists from northern Syria in order to secure Turkey's borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria's territorial integrity.
Ankara and Washington reached a deal on Oct. 17 to pause the operation for 120 hours to allow the withdrawal of YPG/PKK terrorists from the planned safe zone.
On Oct. 22, Turkey reached an agreement with Russia allowing the terrorist YPG/PKK to withdraw from a planned terror-free zone, where Ankara wants to repatriate millions of Syrian refugees it is currently hosting.
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 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK.