A mosque in the rural parts of Afrin province in northwestern Syria was turned into a control base by the People's Protection Units (YPG) terrorists, Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and Free Syrian Army (FSA) forces have reported after the town was cleared of the group.
The members of the PKK terrorist group's Syrian affiliate used different sections of the mosque in the village of Qota for organizational purposes, where terrorists also took shelter and hung photos of the PKK's imprisoned leader, Abdullah Öcalan, on the walls of the mosque.
The village, which has been cleared of the YPG, as part of Operation Olive Branch, which was launched on Jan. 20, is being cleared of explosives by the Turkish military.
In the report by İhlas News Agency, it is said that a part of the mosque was also used as a medical section where terrorists were treated.
"This is where the terrorists gather. They built an operation room in there. They gathered the villagers and held meetings in there. A place of worship has been turned into a hospital," the locals said.
One of commanders of the Sultan Murad Brigade, part of the FSA, Abu Riyad said the PKK turned the mosque into a hospital but that after the village was cleared it is now being cleaned of the PKK's remnants and turned back into a place of worship.
The TSK announced that Afrin province was cleared of YPG terrorists on March 18. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said yesterday in the southern Adana province that 3,844 terrorists had been
killed during the operations. "We will not stop until the last terrorist is wiped out from our region," the president Erdoğan added.
The Turkish military has defused nearly 650 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and 80 landmines since the start of Operation Olive Branch in northwestern Syria's Afrin, according to military sources.
Soldiers and sniffer dogs are taking part in the search for explosives, said the sources on Saturday, who refused to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
Turkish forces continue to search for more IEDs and landmines to make the safe return of people to their homes possible, the sources added.
The PKK and its affiliates in Syria have frequently exploited religious places, disregarding the sensitivities of the locals.
A Turkish soldier was killed in mid-March when an explosive hidden in a copy of the Holy Quran exploded, as he was moving to pick it up from the floor during the operation in Afrin province's Darmashkanli village in the Shaykh al-Hadid district.
According to Muslim belief, the Quran should be kept above waist level, out of respect.