Syrian Kurds demonstrated at Downing Street on Sunday afternoon against the killings and destruction of houses at Ras al-Ain, a Syrian Kurdish town of 55,000 people on the Turkish border. The eighty demonstrators marched to a rally outside the embassy of Cyprus, which holds the presidency of the European Union. They carried the Kurdish national flag. They want full Kurdish autonomy, and they are opposed to Turkish intervention in Syria. They want the overthrow of the Assad regime, and also oppose Free Syrian Army and Islamist incursions into Syrian Kurdistan, as occurred this month at Ras al-Ain.
Within a few days, Ras-al-Ain faced a series of air strikes from the Assad regime forces, and also attacks from the Islamist and Jihadist groups the Al-Nusra Front and Ghuraba al-Sham, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Ras al-Ain has been largely deserted by its residents, thousands of whom have poured across the border into Turkey.
The London demonstration was angry and vocal. There was much bitterness against the Turkish state, which is promoting the moves against Kurdish autonomy in Syria, which has existed in practice, but not officially, since July 2012. The demands of the Kurds will have to be addressed in any resolution of the Syria conflict, and any forcible suppression of Kurdish autonomy would be a backward step for democracy and human rights in the region.
Paul Burnham 07847 714 158
Rashid Sam – Kurdish National Council UK – 07912 564 161
Pictures: Paul Burnham