LOS ANGELES, United States (Kurdistan24) - To mark the one-year anniversary of Suruc bombing by the Islamic State (IS) in Turkey that claimed the life of 33 youth, activists gathered before the Turkish airline in Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on Wednesday.
Holding placards, chanting, passing out flyers, and picketing, American activists of various origins spoke about the Suruc massacre to curious passersby.
Suruc is a border town in southern Turkey, right across from the Kurdish city of Kobane which was liberated from the Islamic State (IS) group shortly before the massacre.
A bomb attack killed young activists who were discussing the reconstruction of the neighboring Syrian town of Kobane.
Over 100 were also wounded in the explosion, which was caused by a suicide attacker from the Islamic State (IS) group.
Two of the protestors who were survivors of the massacre spoke to Kurdistan 24 about their experience in Suruc.
"A year ago, a group of socialist student activists organized an ambitious humanitarian delegation to Kobane with a vision of knitting together even more closely people from across Turkey's social movements and the Kurdish freedom movement," said Claire Asuka.
"Buses left from universities across Turkey. They were filled with mostly young people, but not all. Some were veterans of the 2013 Gezi Park resistance, and most were various stripes of anti-capitalist. Many had no prior connection to the Kurdish movement but were coming to learn, to understand, and to offer solidarity," she added.
But at the Amara Cultural Center, a suicide bomber slipped into the crowd as the youth were taking photos and speaking about their cause. A bomb was detonated and over 30 people died immediately.
"Chaos and terror descended, with the strength of the explosion having wiped out many people's ability to hear themselves or each other. As survivors, including myself, fled the Center, police encircled us, cutting off the street in front even to ambulances," Asuka explained.
She said the police appeared in riot gear and with military vehicles but refused to help the wounded.
"We loaded the injured into cars ourselves, begging those on the road to take the wounded. Hundreds remained in the hospital for months. A few are only now managing to return home, and some will live with their injuries for the rest of their lives," Asuka said.
But not all the injuries are visible and not everyone has recovered.
"Many more have sustained new injuries and new traumas in the year since that day. I myself am a survivor of that day, of what became a massacre. I was at the Amara Cultural Center, and had spent that morning and the night before deep in conversation with the youth activists converging from across the country," she concluded.
Suruc was the first of many terrorist attacks since 2015 followed by explosions in Ankara and Turkey's international airport.
Chris Wohlers, another survivor of Suruc present at the protest told Kurdistan24, "All the young activists who went to Suruc were going there to spread peace, but Turkey used their deaths to start a war."
He said the activists honor the memory of the lost lives to continue their unfinished mission of peace.
"We want peace in Turkey," he said.
"Turkey could not carry out its war without the support of the US and the EU governments. In the end, we will achieve peace and democracy, because we will fight for it, from Los Angeles to Istanbul, Amed, Kobane, and all around the world," Wohlers concluded.