A Kurdish mother who lost three of her sons at the hands of the PKK-linked People's Protection Units (YPG) recounts the horrific crimes committed by the terrorists against Syrians of all ethnicities, whether Arabs or Kurds.
Maryam Al-Shekhani remembers the farewell of her two sons Moayad and Taha before they went with the Syrian National Army (SNA) to resist the incursion of the YPG/PKK terrorists into the northern Syrian city of Qamishli bordering Turkey.
In an exclusive interview with ANews Correspondent Mohammad Mansour, Al-Shekhani said that YPG/PKK terrorists did not only kill her two sons, but also deprived her of her third son and she doesn't know anything about his fate.
The 60-year-old woman is a living witness to the PKK's brutality, not only against Arabs but also against Kurds, as she gave horrific testimonies.
After she lost her two sons, the SNA managed to smuggle her with her daughter to Turkey, where she finally feels secure.
But like all Syrians, Al-Shekhani is dreaming of returning to her homeland.
Housing a significant Kurdish population, Qamishli was captured by the PKK-linked Democratic Union Party's (PYD) armed wing the YPG in 2012 as the Assad regime withdrew from mainly Kurdish-inhabited areas in the north and northeast to focus on clashes elsewhere in the country, allowing the YPG to assert control. However, the regime also left behind a significant bureaucratic presence in Qamishli, where it still controls key government buildings, military installations, the border crossing into Turkey and the airport.
The Assad regime and the pro-PKK movement in Syria has a complex relationship. Although many Syrian Kurds are even denied citizenship by the regime, Syria served for decades as the main hub of the PKK, a Kurdish separatist group with Marxist ideology. Following PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan's ouster from Damascus in 1999 upon Turkey's pressure and closure of PKK bases in Lebanon's Beqaa Valley, the relations between the regime and the PKK turned sour, culminating in the 2004 Qamishli riots that broke out just a year after the PKK's Syrian offshoot the PYD was founded. When the civil war broke out in 2011 and clashes intensified in western parts of the country in 2012, the Assad regime, under fire from Ankara over the atrocities committed against civilians, turned to their former allies, giving control of a significant portion of Syrian territory to a terrorist group fighting with the Turkish state since the early 1980s in a conflict that killed more than 40,000 people.
Since then, Qamishli has served as the capital of the so-called Jazeera canton proclaimed by the PYD with thousands of locals forced to move out of the region in an apparent effort to change the demographics, while many political opponents were executed or killed.
Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring on Oct. 9 to clear YPG terrorists from its border and create a safe zone to facilitate the return of Syrian refugees. The northern towns Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ayn were liberated by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and the Syrian National Army (SNA), ending the four-year-long YPG occupation in the area. According to a deal reached by Russia and Turkey on Oct. 22, YPG/PKK terrorists would pull back 30 km (18.6 miles) south of Turkey’s border in remaining regions, and security forces from Turkey and Russia would conduct joint patrols there.