HDP condemns Turkey's Afrin invasion as assault on 'Kurdish freedom'

"This is the war of building a 'one man' regime," HDP Co-leader Kemalbay said, tying Turkey's military offensive against the Syrian Kurds with Erdogan's political agenda.
author_image Ari Khalidi

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The Turkish campaign to capture the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in northern Syria was an attack to destroy Kurds’ aspirations for freedom, the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Co-leader Serpil Kemalbay said on Saturday.

Kemalbay’s condemnation of the invasion announced by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan came as medical sources from Afrin’s main hospital told Kurdistan 24 that 10 civilians were wounded as a result of Turkish air strikes on the city.

“This invasion by the Erdogan regime is unacceptable,” she said at a convention of her party’s women assembly in Ankara.

Turkey’s third largest party’s leader said the allegations that there were terrorist attacks on the country from the isolated canton of Afrin were false, accusing Erdogan and his administration of “lying.”

“This is the war of building a ‘one man’ regime,” Kemalbay said, tying Turkey’s military offensive against the Syrian Kurds with Erdogan’s political agenda.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson contacted the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, according to state media.

It did not provide further information regarding the phone call.

Erdogan had earlier slammed the US for its support to the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) that is in control of Afrin and said his Syria policy was not to be affected by Washington.

Separately, Turkey’s chief of military staff Hulusi Akar spoke with his US and Russian counterparts.

Russia’s Interfax news agency said Moscow redeployed its troops and military police “from” Afrin.

The Turkish army codenamed its assault on Afrin as “Operation Olive Branch” and said it was also targeting Islamic State (IS) positions.

Since the beginning of the Syrian civil war, Afrin has been under full control of the YPG, a US-led coalition ally that fought IS until its capture of the latter’s de facto capital of Raqqa last year.

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany