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20,000 on London's streets say 'Stop the Turkish invasion'

'Rise up for Rojava' rally opposes Erdogan's brutal war on Syria's Kurds

by Steve Sweeney and Peter Lazenby

MORE than 20,000 took to the streets of London today as people came from across the country to oppose Turkey’s war on the Kurdish people of northern Syria.

The demonstration is believed to be the largest ever organised by the Kurdish community in Britain as they took to the streets to “Rise up for Rojava” – the largely Kurdish region under attack by the Turkish state.

It was part of a global day of action as outrage grows over the illegal invasion being conducted by Nato’s second largest army allied with jihadist mercenaries from the Syrian National Army – also known as the Free Syrian Army.

The demonstration took place as France imposed an arms embargo against Turkey, whose right-wing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan exploited the departure of US troops from the region to invade Rojava, the Kurdish region of Syria.

Kurdish fighters have been instrumental in defeating the forces of terrorist organisation Isis. 

Turkey’s invasion of the region has unleashed chaos as around 750 Isis prisoners have broke free from the Ayn Issa camp, home to more than 13,000 refugees.

Camp leader Jelal Ayaf said that the situation remained volatile and while some of the Isis prisoners had been recaptured, the majority had escaped. 

The United Nations estimated that 130,000 people are now internally displaced from the border towns of Tel Abyad and Sere Kaniye after fleeing the Turkish invaders.

A Turkish air raid hit a civilian convoy outside of Sere Kaniye today with at least 11 people killed according to People’s Protection Unit (YPG) sources with hospital officials confirming they were treating 74 injured people. 

Anha agency journalist Seed Ehmed was among those killed travelling in the convoy.

Protests against Turkey’s invasion took place in Britain, France, Germany and Cyprus, which is divided by a Greece-Turkey border.

Kurdish Solidarity Campaign secretary Rosa Gilbert said: “It has been quite amazing. In the United States and Britain politicians are doing nothing of use, but there has been a massive response from the people.”

Unite the union international secretary Simon Dubbins addressed the rally and explained that he had seen the democratic revolution being built there during a recent cross-party delegation. 

He said progressive forces had created a space where women are playing a leading role in building a new society and warned that the Turkish invasion would destroy this and lead to the resurgence of Isis, who have been driven out of the region thanks to the Kurdish-led forces.

Ibrahim Avcil from Gik-Der Turkish and Kurdish community group said: “We need to build the momentum and push for concrete sanctions against the Turkish state.”

Defend Rojava London, one of the organisers of the demonstration yesterday, branded the Turkish invasion a “genocidal campaign to annihilate the autonomy of the Kurdish people.”

Elif Gun from Kurdistan Students Union told the Star: “It was lovely to see so many people coming together in the spirit of this beautiful struggle.

“Everyone was shoulder to shoulder chanting slogans, raising morale for the people resisting on the ground in northern Syria.”

Further demonstrations are planned for this week. Donations are urgently required for Heyva Sor (Kurdish Red Crescent) who are coordinating releif efforts on the ground.

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