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Thousands protest in Germany over Turkish offensive in Syria

Cologne/Frankfurt, (Germany), Oct.12, 2019

Thousands of people on Saturday took to the streets across Germany to protest against Turkey’s military offensive in Northern Syria.

In Cologne, more than 10,000 people, mostly Kurdish, were estimated to have joined a protest march calling for an end to the offensive and condemning Turkish President, Recep Erdogan.

Large parts of Northern Syria are dominated by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the main U.S. partner in the fight against Islamic State.

Meanwhile, the U.S. had in recent time withdrawn its troops from Syria, paving the way for the Turkish offensive.

Turkey said they were targeting Islamic State extremists and Kurdish militias in the region.

However, Ankara considered the SDF and allied militias to be linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) waging an insurgency within the country.

In Cologne, the demonstrators held flags in the Kurdish colours and chanted that Erdogan was a terrorist.

A police spokesman in Cologne said that the demonstrations had so far been largely peaceful.

“They also held banners with slogans such as “No German weapons for Erdogan’s machinations,” he said.

The presence of the police officers was largely to prevent possible conflicts with Erdogan supporters.

The police officers said that there were also protests in other cities, such as Frankfurt, where about 4,000 people took part.

Germany is home to the largest population of Turkish migrants in Europe.

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