Germany: Thousands protest Turkish operation in Syria
Germany has the largest Kurdish diaspora in the world. Kurds and supporters there rallied against Turkey's incursion into Syria that threatens to unleash a humanitarian disaster and squash Kurdish autonomy.
Tens of thousands Kurdish demonstrators marched through Cologne and other German cities on Saturday against a Turkish cross-border military operation in northeast Syria.
In Cologne, ten thousand people waving a sea of flags bearing the symbols of the Kurdish YPG forces and Rojava, or Syrian Kurdistan, demanded the end of the Turkish offensive, imposition of an international no-fly zone and a halt of weapons sales to Turkey. Joined by left-wing German groups, Kurds also protested in other cities, including Hamburg, Berlin and Munich.
"Together as one, the Kurdish people are united," demonstrators in Cologne chanted, between shouting slogans labeling Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a "terrorist" and "child murderer."
"Long live the YPG, long live the resistance of Rojava," protesters chanted, invoking the name of the northeastern administrative area held by the Kurds where Turkey's incursions are taking place.
The YPG is the main component of the US-backed Syrian Defense Forces (SDF), a Kurdish, Arab and Christian umbrella alliance that has led the fight against the "Islamic State" at the cost of nearly 10,000 fighters.
The US withdrew its troops from the Syrian border region last week, paving the way for the Turkish operation.
PUKmedia / DW