ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – In a letter to Canada’s Foreign Minister, a Member of Parliament called on Ottawa to respond to the ongoing Turkish military campaign against Kurds in the Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) enclave of Afrin.
Conservative Party MP Tom Kmiec addressed the letter to Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland, urging her to “make a clear statement in support of the Kurds.”
“Rojava and Afrin have recently come under direct threat as Turkey has begun a bombing campaign against the Kurdish-held enclave,” Kmiec wrote, adding the region had been “stable and peaceful” during Syria’s ongoing civil war.
The Conservative Party MP also noted that Canada had “a moral obligation” to the Kurds “who willingly took up the fight against [the Islamic State (IS)] and have borne the brunt of much of the religious as well as ethnic violence.”
Kmiec called on Freeland to issue a public statement calling on the Turkish government to end all military operations in Afrin, “to allow civilians to leave the region, and to provide humanitarian aid for those in need.”
“The Kurds in Rojava and Afrin were, are, and will continue to be important partners in a post-Assad Syria that is democratic, free, and on the path to civic reconciliation,” he wrote.
Kmiec’s notable work in support of Kurds includes the creation of the “Parliamentary Friends of the Kurds” group aimed at fostering dialogue between Canadian and Kurdish lawmakers as well as developing relations between Canada and the Kurdistan Region.
Turkey launched its military campaign in Afrin, dubbed “Operation Olive Branch,” on Jan. 20.
According to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the offensive is meant to secure Turkey’s border with Syria of Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), a US-backed group Ankara says is an offshoot of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
So far, the ongoing bombardment has targeted villages in Afrin and the countryside, resulting in death and injury to hundreds of civilians, and the displacement of thousands more.
Meanwhile, Kurds and non-Kurds in Canada continue to protest and hold rallies calling on the Canadian government to break its silence on the Afrin attacks.