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Syrian residents in Manbij protest against Turkish airstrikes, call for international no-fly zone

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The residents of Manbij, a city in Syria’s eastern Aleppo region, rallied today to protest the increasing number of Turkish airstrikes in north and east Syria, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).

The Future Syria party’s youth council organized the protest. The demonstrators urged the international community to establish a no-fly zone to deter further airstrikes. They held signs bearing messages like “Syrian youth rejects Turkish occupation …” and “What Erdogan didn’t achieve on the ground he won’t achieve in the sky.”

Their appeal comes in the wake of escalating drone attacks by Turkey on areas governed by the autonomous administration in north and north-east Syria. Since the beginning of 2023, 18 such attacks have occurred, leading to 23 fatalities and injuring at least 14, according to SOHR.

In the northeast of Syria, amid the ongoing civil war, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) have carved out a semi-autonomous region. This group has the backing of the United States as part of the coalition against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

However, Ankara perceives the YPG to be an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a group deemed a terrorist organization by Turkey and much of the international community. This perception has led Turkey to conduct several military operations against them, marking a tumultuous history of cross-border incursions into northern Syria, where it has established multiple bases.

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