AFRIN, Syrian Kurdistan (Kurdistan 24) – Thousands of civilians from northern Syria and Iraq on Tuesday arrived in Syria’s Kurdish-run northwest region of Afrin to hold demonstrations condemning the Turkish military’s operation in the area.
Thousands in hundreds of cars and busses of long convoys from cities in northern Syria and Iraq headed to Afrin to hold demonstrations.
“We should unite, one force, one hand, one blood, against the barbaric aggression of the Turkish state,” one of the demonstrators chanted to Kurdistan 24.
“We are all ready to defend our homes and lands, and we are not afraid,” he said.
Demonstrators condemned the Turkish attacks on Afrin amid international silence and indifference.
People who came from Qamishlo said Afrin was not alone. They said they would not leave Afrin until the Turkish attacks stopped.
“With one soul, one heart, and one blood, we came here to support our people in Afrin against the barbaric chauvinistic Turkish enemy and their allies—the militants and mercenaries who mutilate the bodies of our martyrs,” a demonstrator told Kurdistan 24.
Analysts say these demonstrations are meant to put pressure on the international community which has so far been silent toward the Turkish state’s attacks on Afrin, especially as most of the victims are civilians.
Since the breakout of Syria’s conflict in 2011, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and its allies have set up three autonomous cantons in the north—Jazira, Kobani, and Afrin—known as Rojava.
The region has expanded since they joined forces with the United States to fight Islamic State (IS) militants in Raqqa and Deir Al-Zor.
Although Washington opposes their autonomy plans, as does Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government, Kurds in Rojava held two rounds of elections to establish a federal system that unites the three cantons.
US support for the Kurdish-led forces, known as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), has infuriated Turkey, which views growing Kurdish power as a security threat along its frontier.
Ankara regards the YPG as “terrorists” and an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that has engaged in a three-decade war against the Turkish state.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany
(Reporting in Kurdish by Kurdistan 24 correspondent Akram Salih from Afrin)