OTTAWA, Canada (Kurdistan 24) – At least 500 people gathered in front of the Canadian Parliament on Friday urging Canada to break its silence on Turkey’s ongoing military operation in Afrin, Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava).
The demonstration was organized by the Greater Toronto Kurdish House (GTKH) and included other Kurdish groups in Canada like The Kurdish Association of Canada (KAC), the Toronto Kurdish Community and Information Centre (TKCIC), and the Kurdish Democratic Federation of Canada (KDFC).
Chato Wany, the President of the GTKH, told Kurdistan 24 the demonstrations started in front of the House of Commons before protestors marched to the US Embassy and the Canadian Global Foreign Affairs Office.
We wanted to urge “the Canadian federal government not to remain silent, and to interfere and have a reaction about this brutality [by Turkey] against the Kurdish civilians of Afrin and Rojava,” Wany said.
Demonstrators included Kurds and non-Kurds who were waving Kurdish flags and shouting slogans such as “The Kurds, united, will never be defeated!” and “Turkey out of Rojava!”
Turkish warplanes began striking the Kurdish city of Afrin last week with ground troops entering the region as well.
The campaign dubbed “Operation Olive Branch” by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is meant to clear Syria’s Kurdish-held northwest district of People’s Protection Units (YPG) fighters who Turkey claims are an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
“We were also highlighting the brave resistance that is taking place by Kurdish forces represented by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the YPG/YPJ,” Wany stated.
Ankara has labeled the US-backed Kurdish forces a “terrorist organization” and has been infuriated by Washington’s support for the YPG.
The US, which is backing the Kurds in the ongoing battle against the Islamic State (IS) in Syria, said it was concerned and has called on Turkey to limit its military offensive in the Kurdish region of Afrin.
Friday’s rally was the second time this week that Kurds gathered on Parliament Hill in Ottawa criticizing Turkey’s assault on Afrin.
On Tuesday, the demonstrations began in front of the Canadian Parliament before protestors marched to the Russian and Turkish embassies.
Kurdish groups in Canada, including the GTKH, will hold another rally in Toronto on Saturday evening (EST) to show “solidarity with our people in Afrin and Rojava,” a statement on Facebook informed. The KAC also plans to organize another demonstration on Parliament Hill on Saturday.
Since Turkey’s campaign began, thousands of people around the world have rallied, including Kurds in other parts of Rojava, Europe, North America, and even Turkey where police used pepper spray against pro-Kurdish protesters in Istanbul and Ankara.