Members of Liverpool's Kurdish community fear for the lives of their friends and families after Turkey launched an invasion of Kurdish territory in Syria.

Troops crossed the border earlier this week after President Donald Trump announced the United States was effectively abandoning its ally in the Middle East by withdrawing troops from the area.

Syrian Kurds who found refuge in Liverpool have told the ECHO that they fear their families could die, either from Turkish bombs or ISIS fighters freed in the chaos.

Mohammad Ali, 30, who now lives in Old Swan , fled from Islamic State in 2014 from Raqqa in Syria where he was studying at the time.

Now he says he doesn't know if his family are alive following Turkish airstrikes in northern Syria.

Mohammad said: "I don't know if my family are still alive. The last time I heard anything was this morning.

"My mum, dad, sisters, and brothers all live in a village five miles from Ain Issa, where 800 Islamic State fighters were being held.

"I spoke to them a few days ago and they told me that all the IS prisoners are now free from the camp since the invasion.

 

"I've been trying to contact them since but I've had no reply. I'm very stressed.

"The whole Kurdish community in Liverpool has family back in Syria who are being bombed. It's a terrible situation there.

"It's a very big community here. A hundred families have come here from Kobanî which is under attack right now as well as its surrounding areas.

Mohammad Ali, 30, from Old Swan, fled IS in Syria in 2014. He says he "doesn't know if his family are alive" after Turkey launched an offensive into northern Syria.
Mohammad Ali, 30, from Old Swan, fled IS in Syria in 2014. He says he "doesn't know if his family are alive" after Turkey launched an offensive into northern Syria.

Turkey launched an assault into Syria this week aimed at pushing back Kurdish-led forces from a zone some 30km into Syria. The Turkish government believes the main Kurdish militia in Syria is an extension of a rebel group operating across the border in Turkey,  which it considers a terrorist group.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claims that he plans to resettled three million non Kurdish Syrian refugees inside this zone - but Kurds fear this could lead to ethnic cleansing.

 

The move came after U.S President Donald Trump announced the U.S would be withdrawing troops from the region which effectively triggered the Turkish assault against the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) - the main allies in the fight against IS.

The Kurds have been staunch allies of the US and other Western powers in the fight against ISIS in both Iraq and Syria.

Mohammad said: "We Kurds just wanted to live in peace. We fought with the SDF to defeat ISIS and guard many of them in prison. All we wanted was to now live in peace.

"The area we lived in was stable. It was a very good place to live. It was safe. Turkey an area that was home for four million people so that they can 'rehouse' all Syrian refugees there. This is ethnic cleansing.

"My family has lived there for generations and now they are being driven out by Turkey. It's so unfair."

On Saturday, members of Liverpool's Kurdish community held a rally in support of the Syrian Kurds which called for drastic international action to stop halt Turkey's military offensive.

Kurdish protest in Liverpool about the Turkish invasion of northern Syria
Kurdish protest in Liverpool about the Turkish invasion of northern Syria

There is also another rally planned in Liverpool on Tuesday on London Road. Similar protests have been planned across the country.

The ECHO was contacted by other Kurds living in Liverpool who were desperately concerned about their relatives in northern Syria.

Barfeen Mehhi, 22, and her sister Diana, 17, came to Liverpool from Kobanî, a city in northern Syria, in 2015 along with her family after they fled ISIS.

They said that they were desperately trying to contact family members in Syria to check on their wellbeing.

Barfeen, said: "My auntie, uncle, grandmother and my husband's family are all living in the area at the centre of the fighting.

Evan Givara Salih, 5, from Dingle, Liverpool holds a poster criticising the Turkish attacks on Kurds in Syria
Evan Givara Salih, 5, from Dingle, Liverpool holds a poster criticising the Turkish attacks on Kurds in Syria

"I've tried contacting them but the internet there is very bad and it's very difficult to speak to them.

"I'm very worried for my family and I fear for their lives."

Diana said: "We've just had such a bad feeling in the last week. It's so bad, we have family there. The Americans have let Turkey attack the Kurdish people.

"This isn't humanity. They have no place to sleep and no food to eat."

 

"Yesterday we all went out into the centre of Liverpool to show people here what is happening in Syria right now.

"There are about 2,000 Kurdish people here in Liverpool. We walked with banners from London Road into the city centre.

"Some people were crying because because they had family in the area that's being bombed.

Liverpool's Kurdish community held a rally yesterday where they marched from London road to the city centre.
Liverpool's Kurdish community held a rally yesterday where they marched from London road to the city centre.

"It's so sad. If this continues Kurdish people won't be able to go back to this area. I can't describe it."

Givara Saleh, 38, from Dingle, came to Liverpool as a refugee and is now a British citizen.

He said that he too fears for the lives of his family back in Syria.

He said: "My sister and my brother are in northern Syria.

"People are dying in the village that they live in, the village I used to live in. A 22 year old was killed in my village in the last few days.

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"We are not sure what has happened to half of the people in the village.

"I came to Liverpool in 2012 as a refugee, now I'm a British citizen. My wife came here in 2013.

"We are very worried about our families. It's very difficult to get into contact with anyone.

"We don't know what to do and we can't do anything. We don't know what the situation is there.

"Yesterday, a friend said that he hasn't had any contact from his mother or brother for five days.

"There are lots of Syrian Kurds living in Liverpool and they will all have family members who are affected by Turkey's invasion."