Life, Middle East

Syrian woman recalls YPG/PKK atrocities in Afrin

Esma Harma, mother of six, reveals how lives changed in Syria after war broke out in 2011

18.03.2018
Syrian woman recalls YPG/PKK atrocities in Afrin Esma Harma (R), who along with her family fled YPG/PKK terrorism in Syria’s northwestern Afrin and took shelter in Turkey, recalled the atrocities of the terror group and how their lives changed after the war broke out in 2011

ANKARA

A Syrian woman, who along with her family fled YPG/PKK terrorism in Syria’s northwestern Afrin and took shelter in Turkey, recalled the atrocities of the terror group and how their lives changed after the war broke out in 2011.

Esma Harma, whose husband went back to Afrin to fight terrorists, told Anadolu Agency that they had a happy life in Afrin before the war and that everything was “devastated” once the war broke out in March 2011.

"Anyone older than 13 years old was recruited by force, those who didn't want to join YPG/PKK ranks were tortured. I saw many children crying on their mothers' lap as they didn't want to join the terror group," Harma, a mother of six, said.

She said fears arose once the YPG/PKK terrorists emerged in the region. "They started to dig trenches around the strategic locations in every corner.”

Recalling the torture and ill-treatment by the YPG/PKK terrorists, Harma said: "They wanted women to serve as their wives [...] Many women were raped by the terrorists, I am unable to forget these incidents.”

Hamra went on to say that her relatives in Afrin told her the YPG/PKK terrorists prevented civilians from leaving the region.

"My relatives have told me that the civilians are used as human shields by YPG/PKK. The civilians, who were subjected to atrocities, were praying for Turkish troops' arrival in the region," she said.

"Turkish soldiers arrived in Afrin and gave the right to live in the city to the people of Afrin," Hamra added.

Turkey on Jan. 20 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 Turkey's borders and the region as well as protect Syrians from terrorist cruelty and oppression.

The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey’s rights based on international law, UN Security Council resolutions, its self-defense rights under the UN charter, and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, it said.

On Sunday, the Turkish military and FSA took control of Afrin town center and efforts are in progress to defuse improvised explosive devices and mines, while taking utmost care to not harm any civilians.

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 a fight.

Reporting by Muhammed Boztepe:Writing by Ali Murat Alhas

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