Pro-Kurdish activists took to the streets of the Vatican and the US embassy in Beirut, protesting against the Turkish military operation in Afrin, Syria. Participants in the Beirut demonstration are holding olive tree branches and banners reading “Save Afrin.”
Some 200 protesters also gathered in the Vatican despite the 24 hour ban on demonstrations issued amid the visit of the Turkish president.
Turkey’s military operation against Kurdish forces in the Syrian province of Afrin codenamed “Olive Branch” began January 20. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claims the operation will go on until the country’s border are fully secured and cleansed from the ‘terrorist threat,’ noting that the territorial integrity of Syria will not be violated or put under question during the operation. Official Damascus has already condemned the operation as a crude violation of its borders and international laws. Russia’s officials have expressed concern about the humanitarian situation in the region and urged for the preservation of Syria’s territorial integrity.