Turkey bombs giant portrait in Afrin of PKK leader

By Séamus Malekafzali (Twitter)

Afrin - In a symbolic move by the Turkish military, the Turkish Air Force today bombed a giant portrait of PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan via drone strike near the village of Bulbul in northern Afrin today. The strike was ordered, according to the Turkish military, to prevent it from from being used as propaganda by the YPG.

 

As part of Operation Olive Branch, the Turkish Army has been embroiled in bitter fighting around the border region of Afrin Canton, owing to the mountainous terrain and the heavy fortifications of the defending YPG fighters. The fighting around the village of Bulbul in particular has been raging for two days at the time of this writing, with progress in the pocket aided by the Turkish-backed FSA being slow but marked. 

Turkey has considered the YPG in Syria an extension of the designated terrorist organization PKK, based in Turkey. While the YPG has denied any connections to the PKK and the larger organization of the SDF by extension, the YPG Press Office has released videos expounding the virtues of the PKK leader, and YPG fighters have been spotted wearing Öcalan patches and flying flags with his face, most notably when a giant portrait of similar size was raised in Raqqah's central square after the capture of the city by the SDF.

YPJ fighters stand in front of a giant portrait of PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan after the capture of Raqqah in October 2017. Turkey has used images like these to justify their ongoing border operation.

YPJ fighters stand in front of a giant portrait of PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan after the capture of Raqqah in October 2017. Turkey has used images like these to justify their ongoing border operation.