Senate, unions call on Australia's government to oppose Turkish invasion of Rojava

A protest against Turkey's invasion of Rojava, in Sydney on October 12.
A protest against Turkey's invasion of Rojava, in Sydney on October 12. Photo: Andrew Chuter

Several trade unions, the Senate and the local Australian-Kurdish community have called on the federal Coalition government to condemn Turkey’s invasion of north-eastern Syria, a region commonly known as Rojava.

Rojava, a de facto autonomous region comprised of Kurds, Arabs and other ethnic minorities, is self-governed through the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, which operates under the principles of ethnic and religious inclusion, feminism, ecology and social equality.

Threatened by this revolutionary democratic experiment on its border, Turkey, which also has a significant Kurdish population, launched an invasion of Rojava on October 9.

On October 15, the Senate passed a motion, moved by Labor Senator Penny Wong, calling on the government to “urge Turkey to cease its unilateral military operations in Syria”.

The motion noted that Turkey’s military operations are “causing further destabilisation in the region, worsening the humanitarian disaster in Syria and risk undermining progress against [Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, ISIS]”.

It recognised that Kurdish forces in Syria “have been instrumental in fighting” ISIS, losing more than 10,000 fighters in this struggle.

The motion was passed with support of The Greens and some independents.

Geelong Trades Hall Council demanded the government “condemn Turkey’s invasion and pressure the US government and NATO to stop supplying arms or financial or political aid to the Turkish regime” in a statement released on October 11.

The Victorian Allied Health Professionals Association, the Maritime Union of Australia (Victorian branch) and the Health Services Union (SA/NT branch) have also issued similar calls, as has the Sydney Stop the War Coalition.

Meanwhile, protests have been held in various cities, largely organised by the Australian-Kurdish community.

To date, the government has only “urged restraint" and called on "all parties to the conflict in Syria to avoid escalatory or opportunistic actions that cause further instability and humanitarian suffering”.

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