Four people have been caught in the northwestern Syrian town of Afrin, along with suicide vests and kilos of C4 explosives, Turkish police said on Wednesday.
In a statement, the General Directorate of Security said that intelligence forces of the Syria Task Force in Afrin, working in coordination with police in southern Turkey’s Hatay province, caught the sleeper cell that was affiliated with the YPG, the Syrian branch of the outlawed PKK group.
The operation ended with the arrest of the four terrorists, including a woman, and the seizure of 13 kilograms (28.7 pounds) of C4 explosives and four cellphone-controlled suicide vests.
In addition, an individual who was recording visuals of the Special Operations campus in Afrin for reconnaissance and intelligence purposes was arrested. He later admitted that the photos were shot to be sent to the terror group in exchange for payment.
Shelling and explosions in areas held by Turkey-backed Syrian opposition fighters over the past month have killed scores.
Afrin has been under control of Turkey and its allied Syrian opposition fighters since 2018, following a Turkey-backed military operation that pushed Syrian Kurdish fighters and thousands of Kurdish residents from the area.
Since then, Afrin and surrounding villages have been the site of attacks on Turkish and Turkey-backed targets. Ankara considers Kurdish fighters who control a swath of Syrian territory along Turkey’s border to be “terrorists”, allied with Kurdish rebels operating within Turkey.
Turkey has carried out three military offensives in Syria, mostly to drive the Syrian Kurdish militia away from its border.
The YPG — which forms the backbone of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighting ISIS in Syria — is viewed by Ankara as the PKK’s Syria offshoot.
This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.