Senior members of the PKK-linked People's Protection Units (YPG) terror organization are fleeing Syria's Afrin, where Turkey's Operation Olive Branch is ongoing, local sources said Saturday.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency on the condition of anonymity, the reliable local sources said one of them is Said Ismet Gubar, who serves as the so-called justice minister in the province which the YPG/PKK group occupied.
Gubar fled to Nubl, a small city in northern Syria, which appears to be under the control of Assad regime but is actually occupied by Iran-backed armed groups.
The terrorist organization continues to negotiate with Iran-backed groups to get Gubar back, the sources said.
According to the same sources, another senior member, who tried to escape from Afrin, was the group's so-called Interior Minister Hasan Bayram.
Bayram, who tried to leave the city through al-Zeyara village which links Afrin to the regime-held area, was apprehended by YPG/PKK members.
Bayram, whose attempt to escape failed, was also said to be carrying a large amount of money with him.
Moreover, scores of other ringleaders from the cadres of Qandil Mountain -- the main base of the PKK near the Iranian border -- have left Afrin's city center, the sources added.
On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to clear YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin, northwestern Syria.
According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey's borders and the region as well as to protect Syrians from the oppression and cruelty of terrorists.
The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey's rights based on international law, U.N. Security Council resolutions, its self-defense rights under the U.N. Charter, and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, it said.
The military also said only terror targets are being destroyed and that "utmost care" is being taken to avoid harming civilians.