turkey kurds

Kurds in Toronto are protesting Turkey's attack on the Syrian Defence Force

As violence and tensions rise in Syria, Kurds in Toronto are protesting Turkey's attack and the U.S.' decision to remove troops from the region. 

Groups of protesters gathered outside the American Embassy at 360 University Ave. yesterday to demand U.S. support for Kurds in Syria and to denounce Turkey's president. 

Activists held signs urging people to boycott tourism in Turkey, saying money spent in the country is money spent on war. 

According to the 2016 Canadian Census, there are about 7,095 Kurdish speakers in Ontario ⁠— the most of any Canadian province. 

Now, Kurds in Toronto are speaking up against the growing conflict.

On Wednesday, Turkey announced they'd be launching an assault on the Syrian Democratic Forces (S.D.F), a Kurdish-led militia in northeastern Syria. 

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey said the attack is an attempt to prevent the Kurds from creating a terror corridor in the region and that the overall goal is peace, but many aren't buying it. 

Since the attacks began, many have warned of a potential humanitarian crisis and tens of thousands of people have already fled their homes to escape danger.

According to the BBC, dozens of Kurdish fighters and civilians have already been killed.

But the conflict didn't come out of nowhere. There's a historically rocky Turkish-Kurdish relationship at play as well. 

And while the Kurds are the fourth-largest ethnic group in the Middle East, they are stateless and have long been the subject of prejudice and discrimination. 

Some also worry the conflict could leave an opening for ISIS to gain power in the region once again, as the S.D.F is part of the reason they were defeated in the area and many ISIS fighters are currently being held in prisons there.

Experts are saying the conflict could create another power vacuum in the area, which is said to be what led to ISIS' rise in Syria in the first place.

On top of that, the U.S., which is an ally to both Turkey and the Kurdish people, announced they'd be pulling troops from the area, essentially facilitating Turkey's attack.

President Donald Trump has been overwhelmingly criticized for the move, and his decision is part of the reason why Kurds in Toronto are protesting. 

Lead photo by



Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in City

City of Toronto nabs dozens of cyclists for speeding in blitz that some say is unfair

Doug Ford says he'll hop into a school bus and drive kids to class this fall if he has to

People have started installing anti-City of Toronto signs in parks

Special weather alert issued for Toronto due to some of the worst air quality in the world

Vote for your favourites in 30 new best of categories

Toronto neighbourhood still shaken by long lockdown in Ontario

People upset after Shoppers Drug Mart in Toronto replaces cashiers with self-checkouts

Toronto loses out to Winnipeg on latest ranking of world's greatest places