AFRIN, Syria

Afrin district in northern Syria has flourished three years since its liberation by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and Syrian National Army (SNA) from the YPG/PKK terrorist organization. 

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

AFRIN, SYRIA – FEBRUARY 02: Humanitarian volunteers of NGOs continue to organize events for children as Afrin marks 3rd anniversary of its liberation by Turkey’s Operation Olive Branch from PKK, (listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU), and YPG, (which Turkey regards as a terror group) on February 02, 2021, in Afrin, Syria. In order to normalize life in the region, Turkey’s support for agriculture, industry, trade, culture, sports, health and education continue for people of Afrin through local councils. ( Saher El Hacci – Anadolu Agency )

The TSK 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, some 4,519 terrorists were neutralized. A total of 54 Turkish soldiers were martyred while 236 soldiers were wounded. Some 320 SNA soldiers were also martyred.

After its liberation, seven local councils were established in the district with the support of Turkey 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 to bring life back to normal.

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

After three years, the number of civilians living in the center and rural areas of the district have reached 350,000.

“We have achieved many successes in the field of education on the third anniversary of Afrin’s liberation from the YPG/PKK terror group,” Azad Osman, a member of the Afrin Local Council, told Anadolu Agency.

Nearly 65,000 students receive education in schools that were renovated and reopened, Osman said.

Osman thanked the Turkish government and people as well as the SNA for their support to Afrin.

“Turkey has done its utmost for Afrin. We have hospitals. Our schools have been reopened. We can even access electricity now,” Samir Sheikh, a citizen from Afrin district, told Anadolu Agency.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU — has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.

The YPG is the PKK’s Syrian offshoot.

Since 2016, Turkey has launched a trio of successful anti-terror operations across its border in northern Syria to prevent the formation of a terror corridor and to enable the peaceful settlement of residents: Euphrates Shield (2016), Olive Branch (2018) and Peace Spring (2019).

*Writing by Zehra Nur Duz

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