Kurds rally in thousands in Europe against Turkish assault on Syria
Protests have been held in Paris and Athens with further demonstrations planned in London
Thousands of Kurdish demonstrators and their supporters have demonstrated in France and Greece to protest Turkish military action in northern Syria.
In Paris about 3,000 protesters demonstrated in the city’s Place de la Republique after initially gathering near the Eiffel Tower.
The protesters shouted slogans and called on France to aid its Kurdish allies in the face of the Turkish onslaught.
In the Greek capital Athens about 2,000 people marched to the Turkish embassy in the centre of the city waving Kurdish flags. Their banners read: “Stop the invasion now.”
"This is a genocide. Please help us, please help us, it’s enough," Bawan, one of the Kurdish protesters, told Reuters.
At one point during the Athens protest one group burnt a poster depicting the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Kurdish student and diaspora groups are also planning a demonstration in the British capital London to protest the attack on Kurdish-held territory in northern Syria. The march is scheduled to begin outside the BBC’s Portland Gardens.
Turkey’s invasion has sparked international criticism amid fears that the move from Ankara could plunge Syria into a cycle of new violence. There are also fears the destabilisation could allow ISIS to regain a foothold in the country.
The radical group took control of vast areas of territory across the Middle East and North Africa after flourishing amid the chaos of war-torn Syria in 2014. They were slowly beaten back in that country in an offensive backed by the United States and spearheaded by Kurdish forces.
Ankara said the incursion into Kurdish-held territory to create a buffer zone along its border with Syria is necessary for Turkey to achieve its own internal security goals. Turkey views the People’s Protection Units (YPG), a US ally, as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) against which Ankara has essentially waged a ground war in its own country.
The US was broadly seen as giving a green light to the Turkish offensive against its allies when the White House on Sunday announced a draw down of its forces in the area. Kurds in Syria and abroad have decried the move.
The Turkish assault has also put a strain on the Nato alliance with European nations condemning their Turkish ally and warning against the mass displacement of civilians and civilian casualties.
Updated: October 13, 2019 02:35 PM