Despite the passing of a decade, former prisoners who suffered days of torture by the PKK/YPG in northern Syria, as well as the loved ones of those who died at the hands of the terrorist group, are unable to shake off their memories of those fearful moments.
Ahmed Kurmi, a committee member of Syrian Kurdistan Democratic Party (SKDP), is one of those who were abducted and tortured for two days by the PKK in 2013.
While a group of civil activists, including Kurmi, were protesting the Bashar al-Assad regime in the northeastern border town of Amuda in June 2013, the terrorists surrounded the demonstrators and took three of them away, he told Anadolu Agency.
He also took part in another demonstration against these three detentions. The terror group responded by blocking their way with over a dozen vehicles and shooting into the crowd, Kurmi said.
"The militants started shooting at people. Many of our friends died. The (terrorist) organization did not allow the wounded who were taken to the hospital to be treated, either. That day, five people died and 32 people were seriously injured," he recounted.
In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the US, UK and EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is the PKK terror group's Syrian offshoot.
Wishing for death
PKK terrorists later also attacked and abducted Kurmi at his home, making off with money and household goods, and taking him to an unknown location.
"They put me in a two-meter cell. We were 30 people in total. When I came to my senses in the prison where we were taken, I saw that my son had also been taken. They also broke his nose.
"Then, they blindfolded me again. I could hear sounds of torture inflicted on my friends. They were constantly screaming because of the pain they were suffering...I knew our torturers by their voices. They were people from our region. I was willing to die because of the torture," he added.
Kurmi and his fellow inmates were later taken roughly 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) east to the city of Qamishli.
"We didn't know exactly where they were taking us because our eyes were closed. There was greater torture there. They tortured us from morning until night with no food or water. We weren't allowed to sleep," he said.
Shortly after his release, he took his family and sought shelter with friends in the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq, fearing that he would be killed if he stayed.
Zeyneb Sheikh Khalid is a mother from the town of Afrin, a district liberated from PKK/YPG control by Türkiye's Operation Olive Branch in 2018. Before then, she lost several members of her family, including her son, to the terror group's torture.
In July 2012, 10 PKK terrorists raided Khalid's home and killed her 67-year-old husband and 41-year-old son, Abdurrahman, she told Anadolu Agency.
The terrorists whisked away her other son, Nureddin, who they would kill in their torture chambers.
"After inflicting all manner of torture on my son, Nureddin, they killed him the next day and threw his body in the courtyard of our house.
Describing the gruesome state that they left her son in, Khalid said: "The PKK tortured my son a lot without killing him. He had stab wounds on his body. They gouged out his eyes and cut off his lips."
The PKK is an organization that causes problems for its people wherever they are in the world, she said, calling on the international community and countries to stop PKK./aa