Thousands of locals from northern Syria's Tel Rifaat, who were displaced by the PKK-affiliated People’s Protection Units (YPG) occupation of the city, gathered Sunday in Azaz to protest against the terrorist group.
The protesters convened in the district center of Azaz, which falls within the area of Turkey's Operation Euphrates Shield, which was carried out in 2016-17. They demanded the liberation of Tel Rifaat and surrounding villages from the YPG terrorists.
The demonstrators, who are living in Azaz after being displaced from Tel Rifat, carried the Syrian Revolution Flag, the symbol of the Syrian uprisings, and banners urging the return of the displaced locals from Tel Rifaat.
Bashir Allito, a member from the political office on Tel Rifaat, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that at least 200,000 locals had gathered to protest against the terrorist YPG.
He called on the international community to support Turkey’s safe zone plans in Syria.
“Neither the return of the [Syrian] regime nor Daesh or the YPG can ensure regional stability and safety,” Allito said.
“Everybody has seen how the regime took revenge on the public in Daraa,” he said and added that the stability and the safety of the region would only be ensured with the return of Turkey and the Syrian National Army (SNA) to the region.
On Oct. 9, Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring, the third in a series of cross-border anti-terror operations in northern Syria targeting terrorists affiliated with Daesh and the PKK's Syrian offshoot the YPG.
The operation, conducted in line with the country's right to self-defense borne out of international law and U.N. Security Council resolutions, aims to establish a terror-free safe zone for the repatriation of Syrian refugees. The region east of the Euphrates River was at the time controlled by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is dominated by YPG terrorists.
Ankara and Washington reached a deal on Oct. 17 to pause the operation for 120 hours to allow the withdrawal of YPG terrorists from the planned safe zone.
On Oct. 22, Turkey reached an agreement with Russia to force the YPG group to withdraw from the planned terror-free zone with their weapons.
Located between Afrin and Azaz, Syria’s Tel Rifaat has been under occupation of the YPG since 2016. Some 250,000 Arabs from Tel Rifaat have sought shelter in Azaz camps, which borderTurkey.