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Police detain at least 40 in SE Turkey protesting airstrikes in northeast Syria

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Turkish police detained at least 40 people in the country’s southeast on Thursday for holding a demonstration in protest of ongoing airstrikes by the Turkish military in northeast Syria, the private DHA news agency reported.

Among the 40 protestors who were detained, 15 were foreign nationals. Police cited a ban on demonstrations in the city issued by the Şanlıurfa Governor’s Office on Thursday morning as the reason for the detentions.

Protests were also held on Thursday in Diyarbakır, Van, Tunceli, Batman, Adana and Mersin provinces. There were confrontations between the police and the protestors as the police tried to prevent them from making a press statement in condemnation of Turkey’s airstrikes. Detentions were also made, but the exact number of detainees was not available.

Among the protestors were members of the pro-Kurdish Green Left Party (YSP) and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).

YSP lawmaker Ayten Kordu, who took part in the protest in Tunceli, called on Turkish authorities to end the airstrikes and the “massacre of Kurds.”

Turkey has been bombing sites in northeast Syria since Oct. 5, hitting civilian and military targets and infrastructure and causing casualties, according to Kurdish authorities.

Ankara has said it launched a new wave of airstrikes in retaliation for an attack in Ankara earlier this month that wounded two police officers.

The outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), listed as a terrorist group by Turkey and much of the international community, claimed responsibility for the attack, which took place outside the interior ministry. The PKK has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984 in a conflict that has claimed tens of thousands of lives.

The semi-autonomous Kurdish administration in Syria has denied Turkey’s claim that the attackers in Ankara came from Syria and said at least 44 people, including security personnel and civilians, have been killed in the ongoing Turkish airstrikes.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Wednesday vowed to intensify the airstrikes on Kurdish militants in Syria and Iraq.

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