On Tuesday, security forces killed a senior leader, as well as three terrorists from the PKK-linked Civil Protection Units (YPS), in operations in the Yeşilyurt district of southeastern Şırnak province.
Berivan Avesta, who was co-leader of the YPS organization in Şırnak, was killed in operations in Şırnak, while operations are ongoing in the Bahçelievler, Dicle and Cumhuriyet districts of the province. In a statement, the Turkish General Staff said yesterday that eight YPS terrorists were killed in Şırnak-based operations.
In December, the PKK decided to establish the YPS, by uniting the organization's urban-based youth-wing the Patriotic Revolutionary Youth Movement (YDG-H) with its militants operating in rural areas and Self-Defense Units (ÖSB). This development was interpreted by some as preparation by the PKK as an indication that they were planning to move clashes with security forces from rural to urban areas in the southeast, with experience gained by the Syrian-affiliate People's Protection Units (YPG) fighting the DAESH terrorist organization in Syria's northern town of Kobani.
The YPS hit the headlines with a photo, which went viral, from the Yüksekova district of Hakkari province, of children wearing YPS masks in January, indicating how even children were subject to the bloody policies of the terrorist organization. Holding toy Kalashnikovs and playing a game digging in the snow to make emplacements, the photo was used in the pro-PKK Dicle News Agency (DİHA), under the headline "YPS-Zarok [Child] announcement from the children of the resistance." After receiving harsh criticism even from supporters of the terrorist organization, DİHA later removed the report from its site.
The group, which is perceived as a cover for the PKK terrorist organization to project a different image, also poses a threat to local Kurds in southeastern provinces.
Şırnak commander of the YPS, Selim Nervehi, shared a video in January in which he threatened Kurds who do not support them in their struggle in the region.
With a Kalashnikov rifle in his hand and stating, "Nothing can be solved without violence," he called on Kurds to revolt against the state and to support them in their fight.
The group also posted an address by PKK-affiliated groups to conduct an armed campaign against the Turkish state. A video dating to late January was released by the YPG that called on Westerners to join the group and attack Turkey.
"Attack the institutions of the Turkish state all over the world. Come to Kurdistan and join the forces of the YPJ [Women's Protection Units], YPS (Civil Defense Units in Turkey) and the guerrillas," said a man, with his face covered by a scarf and rifle on his leg, in the video.