Thousands of people took to the streets in protest in various towns in the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES, also known as Rojava), marking the third anniversary of the ‘occupation’ of Afrin.
Protests were held in Tell Hamis, a town located in Qamishli, as hundreds of people raised their voices for the ‘liberation’ of Afrin. Xalib El Sedun spoke at the protest on behalf of the People’s Democratic Union Party (PYD). “We promise our people that we will liberate Afrin, Ras al-Ayn (Serêkaniyê) and Tell Abyad (Girê Spî)”, Sedun said.
Speaking on behalf of Star Congress, a women’s organisation dedicated to the defence of women’s rights in AANES, Nahiye El Hisên stated that women will continue with their struggle until the real owners of Afrin can return to their lands.
Mass protests in Al-Muabbada and Al-Malikiyah
Hundreds of people protested against the ‘occupation’ of Afrin in Al-Muabbada, a town in Al-Hasakah. A banner that read “No to the demographic change in Afrin” was displayed prominently during the protest.
Al-Malikiyah (known as Derik in Kurdish) also witnessed a mass protest with hundreds of people marching to condemn the third year of Afrin’s occupation. “Long live the Afrin resistance”, marchers chanted.
Mihemed Ebdulrehman, the Co-Chair of PYD’s Al-Malikiyah Assembly spoke at the protest and said: “Afrin had been the land of peace. We condemn the ongoing occupation targeting the peaceful peoples of Afrin. We will not leave Afrin to Erdoğan or his mercenaries. We will never stop until we liberate Afrin. We will never sleep in peace until Afrin is liberated”.
Women have been actively participating in the marches
People of Amuda and Tell Tamer also took to the streets chanting the slogan: “No to the occupation: time to free Afrin”. Protests were also held in Washokani camp, an informal camp that was built in Hasakah by the efforts of the migrants who had been displaced from Ras al-Ayn (known as Serêkaniyê in Kurdish).
Throughout the massive protests in AANES, women have been present, taking a lead in organising and proactively participating in the marches and demonstrations. There have been mass calls for the ‘liberation’ of Afrin, people have joined in traditional ‘halay’ dances and engaged in solidarity with thousands of residents from Afrin who have been forcedly displaced from their lands by the ‘occupying forces’.