Thousands of solidarity activists from all across the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria defied a threat of bombardment by the Turkish State on February 6 to stand in solidarity with the resistance in Afrin.
An Assyrian representative from Deir ez-Zor in Syria’s east who attended the rally said: “We say no to an Ottoman occupation, we say to all peoples’ of the region, we are one hand in the fight against terror, the terror of [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan, and the terror of Daesh. We don't do this for any, except for our children.”
The march was launched with an expanding caravan that began in Shengal (Sinjar), more than 640 kilometers away from Afrin. From Shengal, the marchers advanced to the Cizire canton, before meeting with others and marching to Kobane. From Kobane, they met another delegation awaiting them in Manbij before making their way to Afrin.
An ANF news correspondent spoke to a woman from Seriyekaniye in Syria’s north-east, who said she had not slept for two nights to ensure she would arrive in Afrin as quickly as possible.
The thousands-strong caravan eventually arrived at Afrin city centre to join a large rally organised by locals and members of the area’s autonomous administration.
A representative from the autonomous administration in Deir ez-Zor, a woman of Arab descent, was one of the many voices at the rally who demanded the Turkish state cease its operations in Afrin.
“We in Deir ez-Zor are with the people of Afrin,” she said. “Deir ez-Zor is Afrin. We demand Erdogan to leave this country.”
Especially noteworthy was the multi-ethnic composition of the protests. Various flags were waved, and chants in different languages were heard as Arab, Assyrian and Kurdish women took to the stage.
At one point, an Arab tribal elder adorned with a traditional robe and equipped with a walking stick demanded that the whole country stand with “the people of Afrin”. At another point an Assyrian man condemned the “Ottomanist” ambitions he said was driving Turkey’s actions.