A total of 400 shoes, symbolizing civilians killed when Turkish army planes pounded the Kurdish enclave of Afrine in northwestern Syria, were placed on Wednesday afternoon in front of the main entrance of the Brussels-Central train station. The shoes were accompanied by slogans reminding the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU) of their responsibilities.
This protest action was previously held in March in Leuven and will be repeated in the coming weeks in Brussels.
“Hundreds of thousands of civilians in the Afrine region today face a humanitarian catastrophe following the occupation of the enclave by the Turkish army and Jihadist groups,” said the Platforme Solidarité Afrine, which has been organizing the protests. “Thousands of civilians are blocked in areas where food, drinking water and medical supplies are limited.”
The Platform added that: “Before the Turkish army attacks, Afrine was one of the most peaceful towns in the region during six years of civil war.”
On the 20th of January last, Ankara and its Syrian allies launched a military offensive to chase the People’s Protection Units, YPG, from Afrine. The Turkish army seized control of the enclave on the 18th of March.
“To show their support, we are asking the public to put pressure on the Belgian politicians to stop supporting Turkey’s attacks and welcome refugees. We are also calling on it to refrain from tourist visits to Turkey and to put pressure on NGOs, unions and human rights organizations.”