Around 40 demonstrators gathered outside Guildhall to hear speakers from Cambridge Social Ecology and Cambridge University Kurdish SocietyOliver Rhodes

Around 40 demonstrators gathered outside Guildhall at midday today to protest the Turkish invasion of Northern Syria which commenced last week. 

The rally was organised by Cambridge Social Ecology and the Cambridge University Kurdish Society, with endorsement from other organisations including Cambridge Zero Carbon Society. 

The event was publicised on Facebook under the hashtag #RiseUp4Rojava, referring to the province in north-eastern Syria which has since 2012 been governed effectively autonomously by a Kurdish-led administration. 

Speaking to the crowd, demonstrators argued that the invasion represents a “direct attack of genocidal proportion” focused on the “ethnic cleansing” of Kurds and other ethnic minorities in the region.

Speaking on behalf of the Cambridge University Kurdish Society, Cambridge PhD student Rebwar R Salih told the rally that the region had previously been the "most stable and peaceful" part of Syria and has been "let down" by its Western allies. 

"Every country, including Britain, is complicit if they don't take action against this atrocity", he said.

The Turkish government maintains that military operations in the region are intended to establish a buffer zone between Turkey and the Rojava state, which it argues supports Kurdish terrorist groups in Turkey.

Members of Cambridge Social Ecology, whose members also spoke prominently at the rally, told Varsity that the administration in Rojava represents “one of the single most inspiring events happening in the world”, providing an “alternative” to the “global regime of nation-states and capitalism.” 

The Rojava regime was established in the early stages of the Syrian Civil War when forces from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) ousted the forces of President Assad’s regime in north-eastern Syria. The new state is decentralised and organised on communitarian principles.


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The state has been praised by some left-wing circles for placing women’s emancipation and ecology as political priorities, and for espousing direct-democratic principles. 

“We believe these are principles we hold in Cambridge and we want to see a society built on these principles”, one member of Cambridge Social Ecology told Varsity. “There is an alternative and right now it is under attack.”

Salih told Varsity that, while the invasion also represents a threat to the Kurdish nation, “it’s not about being Kurdish, it’s about atrocities on civilians - if it had happened anywhere else we would support it.”

According to witness statements obtained by Amnesty International, Turkish forces have deliberately killed Kurdish civilians since entering the region, including Kurdish women's rights activist Harvin Khalaf. The invasion has also led to the displacement of thousands of civilians into neighbouring regions.

The invasion has provoked condemnation from the EU and US. 

Demonstrators chanted slogans of solidarity throughout the rally, including "We are Rojava", and "Women, Life, Freedom".

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