Update: 26th March 2018
Following the tragic news of the first UK YPJ martyr Anna Campbell, her family have called for an immediate ceasefire to enable the safe passage of her body from Afrin back home to England.
Please join the campaign to bring Anna home. We need to pressure the government to lean on their Nato-ally Turkey to allow Anna's body be safely retrieved and brought home. You can find a template letter to send to your MP here.
Update: 14th March 2018
Afrin demos taking place across UK
Please check What's On on our website for updates of demos.
You can download an infosheet about Afrin here. You can also download this PDF advertising the London Defend Afrin demo with information about Turkey's invasion of Afrin on the back ready to print and circulate. Just click the images below.
Update: 13th March 2018
Emergency demo tomorrow at parliament
Date: TOMORROW Wednesday 14 March
Time: 12noon Place: Parliament Square (Opposite Houses of Parliament)
Nearest Underground: Westminister Underground
At this critical moment, Afrin needs your support!
Update: 12th March 2018 from Syrian Democratic Forces Media Center
The outcome of combats within the past 24 hours in Afrin
Despite the UN Security Council Resolution 2401, which obligates all parties to stop hostilities, the Turkish state continues to violate the international resolution and targets our people in Afrin with different types of weapons and airstrikes, which expose our people to a systematic annihilation. Therefore, our forces are confined to self-defense in case of any attacks on Afrin.
- Afrin City: the city center of Afrin and its vicinity have been exposed to a brutal artillery shelling and airstrikes since yesterday until writing this report.
- Jinderes: the villages of Shadera and Iseka have been exposed to the Turkish airstrikes since yesterday until the preparation of this report.
- Belbeleh: in Kotana village, heavy clashes broke out between our forces and the Turkish invasion army and its terrorist factions unceasingly since yesterday until writing this report. The clashes accompanied by an indiscriminate artillery shelling and airstrikes. We observed a group of the Turkish occupation army and the terrorist factions with a car. When our forces targeted the group and the car, it was shown later that it was a VBIED, and it seems that the terrorists were preparing the VBIED to attack our positions. Our fighters targeted the car bomb and killed more than 60 terrorists.
There are heavy clashes in the villages of Qizil Bash, Qasha and Darwish since yesterday until writing this report, where our fighters from the battlefield confirmed the killing of more than 30 terrorists.
- Sherawa: there are heavy clashes between our forces and the Turkish invasion army and its terrorist factions in Basiliah village, accompanied by artillery shelling and airstrikes. The clashes resulted in killing 14 terrorists.
In Villa Qadi village, our forces engaged with the invaders since yesterday until writing this report, accompanied by artillery shelling and airstrikes. Our fighters from the battlefield reported the killing of more than 15 terrorists.
- Sharra: some of the terrorists tried to infiltrate into Maydanki dam, our forces repelled their attacks and killed 6 terrorists.
- Raju: this axis is still a target for the Turkish indiscriminate bombardment, where the bombardment is concentrated on Bilal Al-Habashi village.
Syria Democratic Forces – Media Center
12 March 2018
Update: Monday 12th March 2018
Situation is critical, Afrin is surrounded!
The situation in Afrin is now critical. Turkey is bombing the suburbs of the city and the jihadist militias made up of former ISIS and Al-Qaeda fighters are just 2 kilometres from the city of around 850,000 people which is now housing refugees from surrounding villages.
Please join us NOW to help save Afrin! If Turkey succeeds in Afrin, ISIS will once more have a foothold in northern Syria which threatens not just the stability of the Middle East but all of us vulnerable to terrorist attacks.
Q: What can I do?
EMERGENCY AFRIN PROTESTS
Monday 12th March
CARDIFF 12pm, meeting at Cardiff City Road, traffic lights corner, CF24 3JD
LONDON 5pm, Downing Street
Wednesday 14th March
BRISTOL 11.30am, meeting at the fountains opposite the Hippodrome at Broad Quay
Update: 20th February 2018
Labour Frontbench come out in support of the Afrin resistance
Labour Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry questioned the UK government over its support for Turkey in its war on the Kurds. She said:
"We on this side of the House unequivocally condemn Turkey for its disgraceful assault on Afrin. We are especially appalled that it has enlisted in its army the very jihadist militias that the Kurdish forces have worked so hard to drive out of northern Syria. If the Foreign Secretary is unable to join me today in condemning Turkey, will the Minister of State at least explain why he believes that “Turkey’s legitimate interest in the security of its borders” gives it the right to brutally attack the innocent Kurdish community in Afrin?"
Update: 12th February 2018
Turkey's war on Afrin continues with support from the UK government
Some of the UK's largest trade unions including Unite, GMB, Unison, and NEU have condemned both Turkish actions and the UK's support. But the official Labour Party position has been weak. If you are a Labour Party member, you can propose this motion in your local meeting to put pressure on the Labour frontbench to take a better stance. It is very straightforward, and will help raise awareness of what is going on Afrin as well as adding to the groundswell of public opinion.
This should be an open goal for Labour, the UK government is selling millions of pounds worth of weapons to Turkey which is attacking the very forces that fought against ISIS!
There are also numerous demonstrations taking place for Afrin - please check our Facebook and Twitter pages for updates. The next demonstration in London is planned for Sunday 18th February.
Update: 18th January 2018
Urgent concerns have been raised over the imminent threat by Turkey of military attacks on the Kurdish Afrin canton in Northern Syria
Representatives from the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria (DFNS) have been invited and will be attending the Sochi peace talks to be hosted by Russia at the end of this month (January 29th-30th). This is the first time the DFNS will have a seat at Syrian peace talks of this level, despite the fact they have, for many years now, proven to be the most efficient force against terrorist groups such as ISIS in Syria who were defeated by the Syrian Democratic Forces in the terrorist groups self-proclaimed capital, Raqqa, just a few months ago. The only force in Syria to have received support from both the US-backed coalition and Russia, the SDF (the armed forces of the DFNS) is a major power in the new emerging Syria; however, it is now under serious threat from Turkey who vehemently opposes its participation in the peace talks and moreso its existence in general. Indeed, Turkey is seeking to extend its own influence over the Syrian border using its military power and Salafist "rebel" proxies (further detail of Turkey's links to Salafist terrorist groups in Syria can be found in our submission to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee).
Ankara is angered by the announcement last week that the Kurdish-led SDF will create a new border force in the north of Syria with support from the US Coalition, as part of its ongoing strategy to maintain stability and shore up defence against Turkish invasion. In light of this new border force plan, the upcoming Sochi peace talks, and Turkey's historical aggression towards the DFNS, it is very likely Turkey will commence a full military incursion into the SDF-held Afrin canton by the weekend hoping to gain significant leverage in future peace talks and negotiations. Shelling and artillery fire by Turkey and Turkish-backed group was reported late last night (17th January) in Afrin's Sherawa and Shera districts. If successful, Turkish leader Erdogan will be able to claim a political and military victory and add legitimacy to his continuous threats against the SDF and the Democratic Federal System of Northern Syria.
This aggressive move from Turkey has the potential to totally jeopardise all chances of peaceful resolution for the Syrian conflict. Further, it risks millions of lives in an area filled with internally displaced people (around 2.5 million) from the conflict zones of Syria that sought safety in the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, a secular, multi-ethnic, multi-faith, democratic autonomous zone with a strong emphasis on women's rights and defence against the scourge of ISIS.
Demonstrations have been taking place across Afrin today and civil society groups in Northern Syria have called on everyone to show solidarity with those under attack. We call on UK parliamentarians to break the silence on this and call out the UK government for its implicit support of Turkish actions through its lucrative military trade deals and its total silence with regard to its war crimes.