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United Kingdom

Demonstrators including Kurds march through London in protest against Turkey's Syria offensive

Hundreds of protesters with placards showing Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and slogans reading 'Murderer Turkish State' and making their way through central London towards Westminster.

Demonstrations began at the BBC's Broadcasting House at around 12.30pm against the continued Turkish military presence in Rojava, in northern Syria.

The crowd, which included Kurdish citizens, then marched down Regent Street, chanting 'down with fascism' and setting off red smoke.

It comes after Turkey-backed Syrian forces have advanced into the centre of Syrian border town Tal Abyad, on the fifth day of Turkey's military offensive against Kurdish fighters. 

Demonstrations began at the BBC's Broadcasting House at around 12.30pm against the continued Turkish military presence in Rojava, in northern Syria. Pictured on Regent Street 

The crowd, which included Kurdish citizens, then marched down Regent Street, chanting 'down with fascism' and setting off red smoke (pictured on Regent Street)

Niaz Maarof, 41, a driver from London, was part of the march (pictured) and said the Kurdish community was opposed to the Turkish military presence in northern Syria

It comes after Turkey-backed Syrian forces have advanced into the centre of Syrian border town Tal Abyad (pictured), on the fifth day of Turkey's military offensive against Kurdish fighters

Niaz Maarof, 41, a driver from London, was part of the march and said the Kurdish community was opposed to the Turkish military presence in northern Syria.

'This is a demonstration showing against Erdogan and Turkey attacking the Kurdish in Rojava after almost 10 years that we have been fighting against ISIS.

'They liberated the area, they are running a democratic government and now Turkey, with the green light from America, is attacking the area. So, as Kurds, we are not happy about it.

Mr Maarof from South Kurdistan said he agreed with Boris Johnson, who this week urged President Erdogan to end the military assault but that more action was needed from the British Government.

'The world does owe the Kurdish now for what they did in Syria. If you really mean it, the British should stop selling Turkey weapons, because last year Theresa May gave them planes and now they are using them against us.

'The whole world is watching and no-one is saying anything.

'We, the Kurdish, are upset, not only with Turkey but with most of the world, because we are not being helped.' 

Protesters (pictured) chanted 'wake up UK, Turkish state is Isis' and set off coloured smoke as the march made its way through central London towards Parliament Square

Kurdish protest marchers are pictured in BBC Portland Place as they demonstrate against the Turkish invasion of Rojava

More than 130,000 people have been displaced from rural areas around the northeast Syrian border towns of Tel Abyad (pictured today) and Ras al Ain as a result of fighting between Turkish-led forces and Kurdish militia

The protest (pictured) came as Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor, said on Sunday Turkey-backed forces in northern Syria had 'near full control' of border town Tal Abyad

Niaz Maarof, 41, a driver from London, was part of the march (pictured) and said the Kurdish community was opposed to the Turkish military presence in northern Syria

Protesters chanted 'wake up UK, Turkish state is Isis' and set off coloured smoke as the march made its way through central London towards Parliament Square.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor, said on Sunday Turkey-backed forces in northern Syria had 'near full control' of border town Tal Abyad.

Sporadic gunfire and an occasional mortar round could still be heard hitting Tal Abyad from just across the border in the Turkish town of Akcakale. 

There were some celebrations in Akcakale, with people waving Turkish flags.

Turkey-backed Syrian rebel fighters sit in a military tank in the village of Yabisa, near the Turkish-Syrian border, on Sunday

Syrian rebel fighters ride on a truck mounted with a weapon in the village of Yabisa, near the Turkish-Syrian border, on Sunday

The Turkish government views the Syrian Kurdish fighters as terrorists because of their links to an insurgency in southeast Turkey. 

But those same Syrian Kurdish forces were a key US ally in the war against the Islamic State group.

Turkey has vowed to carve out a 'safe zone' inside Syria along the border.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said earlier 17 villages around Tal Abyad had also been captured.

The Syrian Kurdish fighters had themselves captured the town from IS in 2015.

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