Syria: Hundreds gather outside Russian base condemning Kobani airstrike

Hundreds of protesters gathered in front of the Russian base in the Iza'a area, near Kobani, on Friday to decry the drone strike which killed three Kurdish women including famous women's rights activist Zehra Berkel in the village of Helince (also known as Ghasaniyeh), near the Turkish-Syrian border. The protesters demanded Russia do more to «protect» residents. Protesters held images of the women and rallied against the bombing of the area. Five representatives reportedly entered the base to hand over the activists' demands to the Russian authorities. A resident of Kobani, Amira Jawish, said the demonstrators had rallied to «send a message to the Russians that they were responsible for protecting and stabilising the area after the withdrawal of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).» She also accused Turkey of carrying out «terrorist operations.» Various Kurdish groups, including the Syrian Democratic Forces, say that the women — including Berkel — were targets of a deliberate attack by the Turkish military. Ankara has denied accusations that they targeted civilians, and has referred to the allegations as «propaganda,» according to local reports. The Turkish Defence Ministry says that Operation Claw-Tiger has targeted more than 150 suspected Kurdish militant targets as part of a joint air and land offensive against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in response to attacks on Turkish military bases. Turkey is a member of NATO. There is currently a ceasefire in northern Syria, which was brokered in Ankara between Russia and the US following Turkey's military intervention in October 2019.

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