Diasporic Kurds and supporters of Kobani, the besieged Kurdish town, marched by the thousands across different countries in Europe in a strong show of solidarity with the cooperative military operations being conducted in Kobani against ISIL terrorists. Marches and protests rallied throughout multiple countries including Paris, Brussels, London, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, New Zealand and other Kurdish cities in Turkey. All have significant Kurdish populations who have left their home to avoid the three-year old civil war which destroyed may of their homes and businesses. Demonstrators expressed their support for Kurds’ “rightful resistance.” One protestor, Fatima Muslim said she came to show support for Kurdish people, especially those who had died in the terror attacks.
More than 8,000 mobilized in Paris on Saturday backed by the Democratic National Coordination of Kurds in France. In a passionate statement, the spokeswoman, Berivan Akyhol, stated that the international community must do it all it can to rally behind Kobani “for the future of humanity.” Since September, Kobani has withstood attack from the Islamic State militants fighting throughout the border city. Reinforcements from the Iraqi military, Peshmerga, finally arrived to the war-torn region after being delayed at the Turkish border.
Peshmerga translates to “those who defy death,” and their arrival was a major relief to both Syrian Kurds on the battlefield and those rallying across Europe. The deputy foreign minister of Kobani, Idris Nassau, hopes the addition of weapons, ammunition and skilled fighters will “help tip the balance of the battle.” One witness, a Kurdish activist, reports seeing the large convoy pass his home, headed toward the border.
A member of the Federation of Kurdish Associations of France, Yekbun Eksen, believes the rallies on Saturday were the largest gathering of pro-Kobani supporters globally. Peaceful protestors in Diyarbakir, another Kurdish community in southeast Turkey, chanted “Long live the struggle” and carried signs that read “Kobani will be the graveyard of ISIL.” Kurds in New Zealand made calls for world leaders to do more in support of Kurdish resistance. The Kurd’s marching demanded their government support Kobani, “condemn these atrocities and respond to the…call for action.”
Demonstrators included women and children waving the Kurdish flag and holding placards with messages of hope. Three weeks ago, protests were not as peaceful when clashes occured between the Kurdistan Workers’ Party and Islamists. The violence left 40 dead and caused the Kurdish government to give orders authorizing security forces to do what was needed to prevent additional uprising. The protests on Saturday did not result any additional violence or deaths, especially considering the presence of children.
Many demonstrators were angry with Turkey’s Ankara because they felt he was not doing enough to resist and defeat the Islamic State as it continued to seize territory, especially critical crossing points on the Syrian-Turkey border. The U.S has joined the fight against Sunni Muslim extremism in the last month, leading targeted air-strikes to weaken jihadists in the mountainous region. The U.S. has also been airlifting weapons to fighters. According to a Facebook post from Central Command, the strikes have managed to “suppress or destroy” nine IS positions including vehicles and buildings. Kurds continue their marching in support of the Kobani resistance.
By Didi Anofienem