OTTAWA, Canada (Kurdistan 24) – Kurds across Canada gathered in front of Parliament Hill in Ottawa to protest the ongoing Turkish military campaign in the Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) city of Afrin.
The event, hosted by the Kurdish Association of Canada (KAC), began in front of the Canadian Parliament before demonstrators marched to the Russian and Turkish embassies in response to the military operation against Kurds in Afrin.
Rojen Rahmani, head of lobbying and advocacy for KAC, said the Canadian government needs to respond and condemn Turkey’s violent campaign in Rojava.
“I think Canada’s response to Turkey’s attack on Afrin needs to be louder,” she told Kurdistan 24. “[Canada] needs to play a larger role taking into account the YPG forces are an ally of America and Canada.”
Turkish warplanes began striking the Kurdish city of Afrin on Saturday as ground troops entered the region the following day.
The campaign dubbed “Operation Olive Branch” 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).
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 YPG in the ongoing battle against the Islamic State (IS) in Syria, said it was concerned regarding the situation.
The Kurdish diaspora in #Canada marched from Parliament Hill in Ottawa to the Turkish embassy to protest Ankara's ongoing military operation in the Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) city of #Afrin. #TwitterKurds— Kurdistan 24 English (@K24English) January 23, 2018
Video: @kurdishassoc pic.twitter.com/1TNYZ3tWrq
“Without the assistance of the YPG, IS would not have been defeated,” Rahmani stressed. “I encourage all Canadians and all Americans to stand with the Kurds.”
Over the past days, thousands of people rallied against the attacks in the border town of Amuda in northwest Syria while Turkish police used pepper spray against pro-Kurdish protesters in Istanbul and Ankara.