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THOUSANDS of people have been demonstrating in the occupied Syrian city of Afrin to mark the first anniversary of Turkey’s invasion — and Kurdish groups have issued a call for increased resistance against war and genocide.
People took to the streets in Afrin, Sheba and other parts of the largely Kurdish regions in northern Syria at the weekend, with shops closing as the protests took place.
It is a year since the launch of Operation Olive Branch, Turkey’s illegal invasion and occupation of the peaceful city of Afrin on the pretext of protecting its borders from terrorists.
It is part of a broader policy aimed at crushing the Kurdish-led YPG (People’s Protection Units) which have led the fight against Isis in Syria but are deemed a terrorist organisation linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) by Ankara.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is planning another ground invasion to take control of the city of Manbij, east of Afrin, and his government warned over the weekend that it would not be deterred from its mission despite the United States administration threatening to “destroy” Turkey economically if it attacked the region’s Kurdish population.
The Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) issued a statement calling for resistance against the actions of the Turkish state and warned that “Ankara behaves like a wild bull who sees a red cloth” in the face of the Kurdish freedom struggle.
It praised the people of Afrin for their “historic resistance against this occupation offensive, which had nothing in it but genocide.”
KCK warned that this was a deliberate attempt to “de-Kurdify” the north of Syria and alleged that the demographics of the region had changed dramatically since the occupation, falling from 95 per cent of the population being Kurdish to less than 20 per cent.
The group said that Olive Branch was a campaign that took place while “the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and Russia stood by and watched this invasion and genocide. Their attitude paved the way for the occupation and encouraged it.”
But it said: “The fight against fascism will continue in the name of all humanity.
“As long as Afrin is not liberated from invasion, the Kurds cannot and must not sit back. The liberation of Afrin is not only the responsibility of its inhabitants or the people of Rojava [the de facto autonomous Kurdish region in north-eastern Syria].
“All Kurds and political movements in northern, southern and eastern Kurdistan also have a duty to undertake responsibility. Undoubtedly, the youth of Afrin must have only one goal: to be part of the resistance to liberate the city.”
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