Schools have finally reopened in southeastern Turkey after a two week break due to cross-border attacks by the PKK terrorist group and its Syrian affiliate People’s Protection Units (YPG).
Ankara, on Oct. 9, launched the anti-terror Operation Peace Spring to drive terrorist YPG and PKK elements away from its borders with northern Syria and areas east of the Euphrates River. Besides securing Turkey's borders, it also aims to aid the safe repatriation of Syrian refugees and ensure Syria's territorial integrity.
The Nusaybin District Governorate suspended schools in the district on Oct. 10 after Emine Yıldız, 12, and Leyla Yıldız, 15, were killed in YPG mortar attacks.
Emine and Leyla's friends were grief-stricken on the first day back in school. The desks of the young victims were covered in flowers and notes from their friends and loved ones.
One of Leyla's classmates, 14-year-old Nurbahar Kaya, recalled the beautiful memories she shared with her friend. They both wanted to join the school's drama club, Nurbahar told Anadolu Agency (AA).
"She was hardworking. We spent a lot of time together, at school and on the way back home. I didn't know Leyla was dead. I heard the news from a friend. I'm so sorry, I cry whenever I think of her," she added.
Another one of Leyla's friends, 14-year-old Şeyma Korkut, said she is so upset that Leyla will not be able to make her dreams come true.
Emine's friend, 12-year-old Tarık Öter, also shared his grief with AA.
"She's no longer with us, her desk is empty, but her memories are here," Tarık said, adding that Emine wanted to be a doctor when she grew up, but that her dreams will never come true.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU – has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women and children. The YPG is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK.