Tunnel network of terrorists surrounds Syria’s Tal Rifaat

The region of Tal Rifaat has been occupied by the PKK terrorist organization’s Syrian wing YPG since 2016. The PKK/YPG started working in Tal Rifaat, which is only 18 kilometers (11 miles) from the Turkish border, after its occupation and has since surrounded the district and nearby areas with a tunnel network.

The tunnels, built to shield the terrorists from air attacks and for carrying weapons to the front lines, are 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) wide and 2 meters high. The terrorist organization also uses tunnel entrances and exits to attack safe areas. It is estimated that the length of the tunnel network in the district exceeds 30 kilometers (18.6 miles). Apart from the tunnels dug underground, the terrorists also construct channels with heavy machinery to create passageways.

The tunnel network in Tal Rifaat extends to the front lines in the Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch operations areas. PKK/YPG terrorists have constructed similar tunnels in the villages of Meranaz and Ain Dakne on the Azaz line. The terrorist group also built a tunnel network of hundreds of kilometers in Syria’s Afrin, which it had previously occupied.

The Syrian city of Tal Rifaat came under the control of the terrorist organization in 2016. After the terrorists occupied the region, nearly 250,000 residents living in and around the district migrated to Türkiye or to safe areas close to the Turkish border. The people of Tal Rifaat, struggling to survive in the temporary tent camps in Azaz, have been dreaming of returning home for years. Syrians living in tent camps buried in mud during the harsh winter months have held out hope for an operation to be carried out in northern Syria after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Operation Claw-Sword would not be limited to air operations only.

Abdulhelim Maryamini of Tal Rifaat expressed that they would give endless support to the operation. “The PKK/YPG terrorist organization occupied the city we live in six years ago. We first went to (Şanlıurfa). We came back to Syria four years ago. We set up a tent under these olive trees right next to the border. I opened a sweet shop three months ago. I have two small children. We cannot even meet our basic needs,” Maryamini said.

“We had a beautiful house in Tal Rifaat. I miss Tal Rifaat, our home very much. I want to go back to the good old days.”

Abdurrahman Abud, a former lieutenant in the army, said: “We had to flee Tal Rifaat. We settled in this camp in Azaz. The PKK/YPG is the enemy of the Syrian revolution. We have heard President Erdoğan’s statements. We support this operation to the end. We trust the Turkish soldiers and army until the end. We have been waiting for our return home for years. The Turkish army will bring us back home.”

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