Socialist Worker

London demonstration shows solidarity with Kurds against Turkish invasion of Syria

by Charlie Kimber
Issue No. 2676

Tens of thousands of people rallied in solidarity with Kurds in Syria

Tens of thousands of people rallied in solidarity with Kurds in Syria (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Around 20,000 people marched through London on Sunday against the Turkish invasion of north east Syria.

Turkey’s repressive president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is determined to seize areas such as Rojava that are presently run by Kurdish organisations.

He fears that their existence could encourage more resistance by Turkey’s own Kurdish minority and add to the problems of his embattled regime.

The invasion, which began on Wednesday, followed US president Donald Trump’s decision to remove US troops from the area. This encouraged Erdogan to start his assault.

For over three years, the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have fought alongside US troops in the battle against Isis. Trump then ruthlessly dumped the Kurds.

Razeq, who lives in north London and was on the demonstration, told Socialist Worker, “The Kurds have been betrayed so many times. For 100 years the great powers have used us, made promises to us and then let us down.

“Now it has happened again.”

Turkey has the second largest army in the Nato military alliance. It is pouring firepower into Syria.

The Kurdish Red Crescent said on Saturday that it has documented at least 35 civilians killed by the Turkish offensive, with hundreds more wounded.

In addition eight civilians were executed alongside Kurdish politician Hevrin Khalef by the Ahrar-al-Sharqiya militia. This is a Syrian group allied to Turkey. Then on Sunday a civilian convoy in Sere Kaniye was hit by a Turkish bombardment leading to several deaths.

Casualties arrive at hospital after a Turkish bombardment of a civilian convoy near the city of Sere Kaniye

Casualties arrive at hospital after a Turkish bombardment of a civilian convoy near the city of Sere Kaniye (Pic: Rojava Information Centre)

The United Nations estimates that more than 130,000 people have been displaced from rural areas around the northeast Syrian border towns of Tel Abyad and Ras al Ain. The Rojava Information Centre, says the total figure is over 200,000.

Many of these people have been forced to abandon their homes repeatedly.

Xemgin, who was on the London demonstration, said, “My relatives in the city of Qamishlo say there is a lot of damage caused by Turkish shelling. The explosions have hit the bakers so there is a bread shortage.

“The electricity is often cut off and so is the water supply.”

The SDF has called for the imposition of a no-fly zone in northern Syria policed by US aircraft. Many demonstrators backed the idea.

A letter signed by 13 British trade union general secretaries has also supported it. The statement called on the British government to work with others to “to deploy an international force”.

But pouring in more imperialist forces will make the situation worse. It did in Iraq, it did in Libya and it will do so again now.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was right to tweet that “There needs to be a withdrawal of all foreign forces from Syria, not further escalation of the conflict”.

Kurdish suffering is linked to the wider tragedy of Syria. The regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’ and foreign intervention have torn apart millions of people’s lives.

The British government has blood on its hands. Since Erdogan came to office in 2014, Britain has licensed £1.1 billion of arms to Turkey. These include drones, tanks, and missiles.

In September, the British government also invited the Turkish military to London for the world’s largest arms fair.

Such people will never be friends of the Kurds.

All the arms sales and support must end now.

Everyone should support the demonstrations against the Turkish invasion and Erdogan’s friends in Downing Street.

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