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Local residents in Syria's Afrin hail Turkey-led operation against YPG/PKK

Syrian civilians living in Afrin have welcomed Turkey-led forces, which liberated the city, a major hideout for the PYD/PKK since 2012, with their open arms, saying that "Bad days have ended after the Turkish soldiers arrived in Afrin."

Anadolu Agency WORLD
Published March 20,2018

Civilians in Syria's northwestern region expressed their pleasure after the Turkish military and Free Syrian Army (FSA) liberated Afrin's town center from YPG/PKK terrorists.

"When we saw the [Turkish] soldiers at the village, we were very pleased. We sacrificed two animals on their behalf," Melek Salih, a 60-year-old woman, told Anadolu Agency.

"The [Turkish] soldiers came in, we are not scared anymore," she said.

On Sunday, Turkish-backed troops liberated the town center of Afrin, which had been a major hideout for the PYD/PKK since 2012.

A total of 3,655 terrorists have been "neutralized" since the start of Operation Olive Branch in Syria's Afrin, according to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Tuesday.

Salih also mentioned about the hard times that they lived through when the terrorists were present in the town.

"They used to abduct the children between the age 12-14 and armed them," she recalled.

She said the terrorists threatened to kill those who do not want to join the terror group and they also forcibly took money from the residents. "All we want is soldiers to stay and protect us and our soils," she added.

Neriman Mustafa, a 35-year-old woman, also holds similar views with Salih.

"Bad days have ended after the Turkish soldiers arrived in Afrin," Mustafa said.

She noted that the terror group even recruited the girls and they abducted around 40 children from their neighborhood.

Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch on Jan. 20 to clear terrorist groups from Afrin in northwestern Syria amid growing threats posed from the region.

According to the Turkish General Staff, Operation Olive Branch has aimed at establishing security and stability along Turkey's borders and the region as well as protecting Syrians from the cruelty and oppression of terrorists.