Mon, Oct 14, 2019 - Page 5 News List

Thousands march in Europe against Turkish offensive

AFP, PARIS

Thousands of people, some shouting “Erdogan terrorist,” on Saturday took to the streets of Paris and other European cities in protest at the Turkish assault on Kurds in Syria.

Protesters marching under the Kurdish green, red and yellow flag waved placards reading “Trump = serial killer” or calling Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan “the true leader of Daesh,” the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State (IS) group.

Organizers said “more than 20,000 people” took part in the demonstration in Paris after Ankara stepped up its assault on Kurdish-held border towns in northeastern Syria, defying mounting threats of international sanctions.

“Turkey is invading Rojava [the self-proclaimed Kurdish zone in northeast Syria] and Europe is watching,” they shouted as they marched toward Chatelet in central Paris.

In France, a spokesman for one Kurdish group called for US and EU sanctions against Turkey.

Similar protests took place in other French cities including Marseille, Strasbourg — the seat of the European parliament — Bordeaux, Lille and Grenoble.

The Turkish offensive began on Wednesday after US President Donald Trump ordered US troops to pull back from the border.

Trump has faced a storm of criticism for abandoning a loyal ally in the US-led campaign against the IS.

Pro-Kurdish protests were also held across Germany, with more than 10,000 participants in Cologne.

Several hundred demonstrated in Budapest outside the Turkish and US embassies, chanting “Trump-Orban-Erdogan dictators!” Viktor Orban is Hungary’s prime minister.

Scores of Kurds also marched through the Cypriot capital, Nicosia. Thousands marched in Vienna, while in Athens, about 1,800 people tried to march on the Turkish embassy, shouting “Erdogan terrorist.”

A similar protest was held in Zurich, Switzerland, to the strains of Kurdish music.

About 5,000 people marched to the Swedish parliament in Stockholm. Similar protests were staged in the Hague, Netherlands, Warsaw and Brussels.

France said it is halting exports of any arms to Turkey that could be used in its offensive in Syria, adding that it wants an immediate meeting of the US-led coalition against the IS.

Finland, Germany, Norway and the Netherlands also announced similar measures.

Meanwhile, a senior commander of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces said that Kurdish troops guarding IS prisoners would likely be redeployed to the front line soon.

“The protection of ISIS prisons will not remain our priority,” the commander told a news conference on Saturday. “The defense of our soil will be prioritized if [the] Turkish military continues its attacks.”

Additional reporting by AP and the Guardian

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