World, Middle East

Syria's Afrin liberated from terrorists 4 years ago

People in region want halt to YPG/PKK attacks targeting peace and stability

Omer Koparan and Ethem Emre Ozcan  | 17.03.2022 - Update : 17.03.2022
Syria's Afrin liberated from terrorists 4 years ago

AFRIN, Syria 

It has been four years since the Afrin district of northern Syria was liberated by the Turkish Armed Forces and Turkish-backed group Syrian National Army (SNA) from the YPG/PKK terrorist organization.

Afrin was largely cleared of YPG/PKK terrorists on March 18, 2018 through Turkiye’s anti-terror offensive Operation Olive Branch.

The Turkish forces and SNA took control of six town centers, 282 villages, six sub-village settlements, 23 strategic mountains and hills, a dam and 50 strategic points in the operation.

During the operation, over 4,500 terrorists were neutralized. A total of 54 Turkish soldiers were killed while 236 soldiers were wounded. Some 320 SNA soldiers were also killed.

Infrastructure support

After its liberation, seven local councils were established in the district with the support of Turkiye to serve the people of the region.

The councils provided support to the public in various fields including agriculture, industry, commerce, culture, sports, health and education in a bid to bring life back to normal.

Civilians started returning to their homes as of March 20, 2018 thanks to the assurance provided by Turkish forces and SNA soldiers.

After four years, the number of civilians living in the center and rural areas of the district has reached 600,000.

A 100-bed hospital was reopened in Afrin.

In addition to five hospitals in the center, 25 health centers in the towns provide free treatment to the people of the region.

The education system imposed by the YPG/PKK was terminated in schools, and education in accordance with the curriculum determined by the opposition's provisional government was started.

Turkey's Gaziantep University established the Faculty of Education in the region, along with a cultural center and sports complex.

Nearly 75,000 students study in 272 schools in Afrin district center and surrounding towns.

Civilians being targeted again

Speaking to Anadolu Agency Mustafa Suleyman, who has lived in Afrin for 12 years, said the district was targeted by the YPG/PKK terrorists in a recent provocation.

"I am from Afrin, I was injured in the missile attacks by the terrorist organization 45 days ago in the district. Many people died and many were injured. I want my voice to reach everywhere. We are civilians, we are targeted, we are not guilty of anything."

Suleyman, whose treatment is still ongoing, said: "We are very satisfied with the services. Thank God our hospital, doctors and nurses take good care of us. Thank you very much for the services provided."

Another resident, Ibrahim Halil Mustafa, who sells shoes, said: "My family has been living in Afrin for 175 years. Our grandfathers and ancestors also lived in Afrin. Afrin is getting more beautiful day by day. In the first days of Afrin's liberation, there were difficulties in security and trade, thank God it is very good now."

Mustafa added that sometimes, missiles are fired at the district by YPG/PKK. “We lose our peace, we close shops and stay at home. People are afraid to go out. We hope that the terrorist attacks will end."

* Writing by Seda Sevencan

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