Tens of thousands of people have rallied worldwide to demand greater international support for Kurds battling the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in the largely Kurdish territory of Rojava in northern Syria.
Kobane is a Rojavan town that was the scene of prolonged and devastating conflict between the Rojavan revolutionary forces and ISIS, before finally being liberated in January. The battle for Kobane became symbolic of the Rojavan struggle against ISIS and its allies, such as the Turkish state.
Rallies in solidarity with Kurds in Syria were held in more than 80 cities in more than 20 countries on November 1, with organisers calling for renewed international support for Syrian Kurds. Huge pro-Kurdish rallies have taken place in countries ranging from Afghanistan to the United States, and Australia to Venezuela.
In Sydney, Peter Boyle from Socialist Alliance told TeleSUR English: “Speakers, including Greens MP Jamie Parker, called for a humanitarian corridor through Turkey for aid and supplies to Kobane and for the removal of the Kurdistan Workers Party from the official list of terrorist organisations in Australia.”
He said the rally was also attended by “Amanda Johnston, the mother of Ashley Kent Johnston, a young Australian volunteer killed in the defence of Kobane. Two young Australians have sacrificed their lives for Kobane.”
In Britain, a solidarity march flooded London streets, with activists waving the flags of the two main Syrian Kurdish militias, the People's Protection Units (YPG) and Women's Protection Units (YPJ).
The rallies marked the second annual World Kobane Day, which first took place last year. In a statement, organisers said: “Now is the time to aid Kobane and by so doing show solidarity with the forces who are struggling for a free, democratic and peaceful Syria.”
Organisers said Kurds in Rojava still desperately need humanitarian aid and international support. Key demands of protesters included calls for a humanitarian corridor through Turkey for Syrian refugees and aid workers.
“While there is no official support the logistics of sending aid to Kobane has been fraught with insuperable difficulties and the people of Kobane have continued to suffer with many families fleeing to a place of greater safety,” organisers said. “That is why it is even more urgent now to set up a humanitarian corridor from Turkey to Kobane to facilitate aid to flow through to reach the city, which is still facing ISIS assaults.”
When the event was first called last year, Kobane was besieged by ISIS. Since then, YPG/YPJ fighters have broken the siege and launched an offensive that has pushed deep into previously ISIS-held territory. In June, Kurdish fighters seized a town just 50 kilometres from ISIS's de facto capital, Raqqa.
[Abridged from TeleSUR English.]