In Afrin, which has been under the yoke of the PKK-affiliated Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing the People's Protection Forces (YPG) for the last six years, civilians have started returning to the villages cleared of the terrorists, expressing their gratitude to the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters.
Since the launch of the Operation Olive Branch on Jan. 20, Turkish military and the FSA liberated 112 locations including one of Afrin's five towns, 83 villages, six smaller villages 20 strategic mountains and hills and two YPG/PKK bases.
In the clean-up operations, Turkish soldiers and the FSA fighters cleared explosive traps installed by YPG terrorists, while providing food aid to the civilians returning to their homes.
In the village of Omar Ushaghi near the town of Raju, Asu Mohamed Bekir, a 78-year-old woman who returned home with her daughter-in-law and two grandsons, told the official Anadolu Agency on Sunday that YPG/PKK terrorists tricked them into fleeing by telling them that Daesh terrorists were coming to take over their village.
Bekir said that shortly before the launch of the operation, they abandoned their homes and went to a location close to the Afrin town center.
"When Turkish soldiers and the FSA came, we returned home, and we agreed with this. Some of those who left also want to return home but the PYD/PKK does not allow them, if they could find a way, they would. PKK is holding some of them, some are being kept in Afrin. They all have homes here, there they are in difficult conditions, deprived of food and water, and here there is food," she said.
Avbanu Bekir said that her husband left the village for Turkey before YPG/PKK terrorists came and started working there. Bekir said she, her two daughters and her mother-in-law left their homes before the operation, returning to safety five days earlier.
Navbihar Behram, mother of two, said that she returned home to safety along with her husband and father-in-law, who is sick. Behram said that she is diabetic and has cardiac problems, and that the soldiers are bringing her medicine from Turkey.
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said that 350,000 people in Turkey will return home to Afrin after YPG terrorists have been cleared from region.
"Approximately 350,000 Afrin residents who had to leave their city and took refuge in Turkey will return to their homes after the region is cleared of from the PKK/YPG and Daesh terrorists completely and will continue their lives there peacefully," Yıldırım said Sunday.