Middle East

Forcefully recruited YPG/PKK member tells of seizure

Abdulgani Ali Halil al-Handak says terror group sending Arabs to fight in frontlines

Sibel Uğurlu  | 07.12.2019 - Update : 07.12.2019
Forcefully recruited YPG/PKK member tells of seizure


An Arab national who was forcefully recruited by the YPG/PKK terror group, narrated to Anadolu Agency how the terror group captures Arabs and sends them to fight in the frontlines.

Abdulgani Ali Halil al-Handak was abducted by the YPG/PKK in Karakozak, northeast of Aleppo, Syria before Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring Operation began in northern Syria.

The YPG/PKK terror group took him to one of its camps in the west of Ayn a-Arab (Kobani) where, Handak was kept for 13 days. “Then, they took me to al-Hasakah” where he went through training.

“Among trainers were those from Syria and also Qandil [PKK headquarters]. I remember some codenames like Burus and Murat. They used to tell us that they will establish a state, target Turkey where everyone else except them will leave,” said Handak.

He said the terror group was particular about choosing Arabs to recruit for armed clashes. “They used to stay behind while sending Arabs to front lines,” he said.

Handak said he was able to contact the Syrian National Army (SNA) 10 days before Operation Peace Spring began.

“I stayed with them [YPG/PKK] for almost nine months. If I had escaped before [Turkey’s] operation, they would have forced my family to migrate and they would abduct my cousins. That’s why I had to stay with them during that period,” he said.

Handan said he managed to escape from the terror group in Ayn Isa, southeast of Ayn al-Arab, with the help of the SNA.

“I am calling on those who were forcefully recruited by the terror group. Leave your arms there and turn back to your family and work. Accept this a recommendation from a brother of yours,” Handak said.

He said he returned to a normal life after he escaped from the terror group and now he owns a boutique shop.

“Thank God, I have now a shop and selling clothes. I am working and no one is forcing me to do anything.”

Syrian Interim Government President Abdurrahman Mustafa announced Wednesday that those who were deceived or forcibly participated in the YPG/PKK terror group would be forgiven unless they committed another crime.

He said forcibly recruited YPG/PKK members need to consult the nearest Syrian National Army point by abandoning their weapons as the first step for a brighter future.

Turkey on Oct. 9 launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate YPG/PKK terrorists from northern Syria east of the Euphrates River in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.

Under two separate deals with the U.S. and Russia, Turkey paused the operation to allow the withdrawal of YPG/PKK terrorists from the planned Syria safe zone.

Prior to this, Turkey led two successful operations, Olive Branch and Euphrates Shield, in northern Syria to rid the region of terrorists.

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

*Writing by Sibel Morrow

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