Members of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) are looting and vandalizing homes and property of the northern Syrian town of Tel Rifaat, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency reported on June 9 refering local sources.
“According to information Anadolu Agency obtained from local sources, YPG/PKK terrorists looted some houses belonging to civilians in the villages of Menagh and Ayn Dakna.
Forces of Bashar al-Assad regime and Iran-backed foreign terrorist groups, who came from rural Aleppo’s Nubul and Zahra districts, have also committed similar vandalism in the area.
Footage shot by Anadolu Agency captures the moments when houses were set ablaze and smoke is seen rising from the fields.
Bashar Allito, bureau chief of Tal Rifaat’s military council, told Anadolu Agency that he also witnessed the smoke rising from Tal Rifaat and nearby villages,” Anadolu Agency’s article reads.
According to Anadolu Agency, Allito speculated that possible Russian-Turkish negotiations may force Kurdish and Iranian-backed militias to withdraw from the area. The news agency also argued that this move is needed to allow refugees to return their homes in Syria from camps at Turkish border.
HINT: Ankara desccribes the YPG as a a local branch of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is recognized by Turkey and the US as a terrorist group. Ankara sees Kurdish armed groups in northern Syria and northern Iraq as a threat to its national security.
In a separate article, Anadolu Agency accused the YPG of tourtering two civilians to death in the Syrian province of Hasakah.
“Fahad Ammash al-Haji al-Naif, who was an engineer by profession, was abducted from a village of Deir al-Zour on suspicion of belonging to the Daesh terrorist organization, they said.
The sources said the terror group delivered the body of al-Naif to his family two days ago and that signs of torture could be seen on his body.
Saleh al-Ahmad al-Yassin, another civilian who was a pharmacist by profession, had been kidnapped over a similar suspicion from the town of Muhsin in the countryside of Deir al-Zour, they said.
After the abduction, Al-Yassin was taken to the Al-Omar oil field and then to an unknown destination in the northeastern city of Qamishli, the sources added.
“YPG elements claimed that he died of a heart attack, but, signs of torture were clear on his body,” they said,” Anadolu Agency reported on June 9.
Pro-YPG sources firmly denied the these reports describing them as a part of Ankara’s ongong propaganda campaign against Kurdish militias in northern Syria.
In 2016 and 2017, the Turkish military carried out two military operations in northern Syria that clearly impacted the plans and influence of the YPG and its political wing, the Democratic Union Party (PYD).
- Operation Euphrates Shield: In August, 2016 the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) crossed the border with Syria in the province of Aleppo and established control of the al-Bab-Jarabulus-Azaz triangle. Most of this area was captured from ISIS. However, the TAF and the FSA also captured a number of villages, north of Manbij, of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The YPG and the PYD are a core of the SDF. This advance makes impossible a long-standing plan of the YPG to link the Kurdish-held areas in northeastern and northwestern Syria.
- Operation Olive Branch: In January, 2017 the TAF and the FSA carried out a military operation against the YPG in the area of Afrin in northwestern Syria capturing the city of Afrin and the nearby villages. The remaining units of the YPG withdrew from Afrin to the SDF-held area in northeastern Syria or to the area of Tel Rifaat north of the city of Aleppo in northwestern Syria. The TAF and the FSA did not advance on Tell Rifaat because troops of the Syrian Army were deployed there. Some Russian servicemen were also filmed in the area providing humanitarian aid to civilians. The YPG and the PYD lost Afrin because they had appeared to be unable and had had no will to reach a deal with the Syrian-Iranian-Russian alliance and to integrate its Afrin structures into the Syrian government and its security forces.
Now, Turkey is continuing its wide-scale effort to neutralize the YPG and the PYD in northern Syria. Now, Ankara is focusing on the town of Manbij in the province of Aleppo.
Recently, the US and Turkey endorsed a roadmap to force the YPG to withdraw from Manbij and its countryside and to establish a joint control of the area. Acordign to the Turkish side, the deal will be implemented less than in six month. Following the road map announcement, the YPG announced that it had withdrawn its members from Manbij. However, this is not enough to satisfy the Turkish leadership that aims to put an end to presence of Kurdish armed groups along all the Turkish border.
Thus, the YPG and the YPG through its new brands – the SDF and the SDC [Syrian Democratic Council] are actively working with their main patron, the US, to prevent this scenario. The SDC has even announced that it’s ready for direct talks with the Syrian government to stregthen own requests for support to Washington.