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Conflict Incident Report

Kurdish demonstration in front of Turkish Embassy protests Afrin offensive

Date of incident: 
January 26, 2018
Death toll: 
Number of Injured: 
Actors/Parties Involved: 
Lebanese Kurds
Internal Security Forces (ISF)

A protest against the Turkish military operation in Syria’s Kurdish-held Afrin region was held in front of the Turkish Embassy in Metn’s Rabieh.

The Turkish offensive, dubbed “Operation Olive Branch,” began Saturday, pushing to clear YPG Kurdish militia fighters from Afrin.

The increasing death toll drew outrage from some 200 protesters gathered in front of the embassy, raising Kurdish flags and chanting statements against Turkey’s offensive, a security source told The Daily Star.

The U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, recorded 31 civilian deaths up to Thursday, victims of the Turkish aerial assault on the Kurdish enclave. The death count included 8 children and 4 women.

Internal Security Forces cut off the road about three kilometers from the embassy, redirecting traffic to a side road.

A group of people waving Y.P.G. and Kurdistan flags out the windows of three honking cars had to leave their vehicles behind and continue on foot to the embassy, approximately 25 minutes away.

Past the first blockade, a second checkpoint stood next to a parked Rabieh municipality car, where around 30 people waited. Municipal police and security units questioned protesters decked out in red, yellow and green - the colors of the Kurdish flag - before letting them pass.

Municipal police said the protesters had clogged the road, forcing the municipality to close.

Although the protest against the incursion is a first in front of Lebanon’s Turkish Embassy, more than a thousand protesters demonstrated in front of the country’s Russian Embassy Monday. The choice to target the Russian Embassy was likely due to perceived Russian complicity in the Turkish offensive.

Monday’s protest prompted Prime Minister Saad Hariri to discuss Turkey’s offensive on Syria’s Afrin with Turkish Ambassador to Lebanon Cagatay Erciyes.

“This operation is aimed at securing the Turkish borders, and [preserving Turkey’s] national border security in line with the right of self-defense as outlined in Article 51 of the U.N. Charter,” Erciyes was quoted as saying at the time.

Primary category: 
Collective Action [inc. protests, solidarity movements...]
Classification of conflict (primary): 
Conflicts of social discrimination
Violent and unjust treatment of different categories of people and individuals based on race, age, gender or sexuality, committed by the State, groups and individuals, related to a lack of protection and rights, inefficiency of the Justice system and persisting social and economic vulnerabilities.