Bring Anna Home

Though the Kurdish Defence Forces have proved remarkably effective in defeating Daesh (Islamic State) they are still relatively small and poorly equipped, and Turkey has a large army and air force, equipped with modern armaments, much of it sold them by the UK arms companies. Turkey is still seen by our government as a vital part of NATO, the southern part of its defence against Russia.

In reality the situation has now rather changed, with Turkey and Russia finding some common interests and both feeling aggreived against the major Western powers. Before the invasion of Afrin, top-ranking Turkish generals went to Russia and made sure that the Russians saw the importance of capturing Afrin in helping Assad to retain control of Syria.

Turkey had also been a major financial supporter of the Islamic State, probably seeing them as an ally in their fight against the Kurds, but also profiting from the part they paid in smuggling out the oil whose revenues largely funded IS. Though it is unclear whether these profits went to the Turkish state or more directly to Erdogan and his family and friends. Through its contacts Turkey was able to mobilise large numbers of the defeated Islamists to join them in attacking the forces that had previously defeated them.

Once the US had abandoned the Kurds in Afrin, depriving them of air support or new weaponry, the eventual outcome of the fight for Afrin seemed inevitable – and eventually the Kurdish forces conceded this, making a rapid withdrawal not long after this protest. Though Turkey may find it rather harder to keep control of the area than to capture it, and its long-term future is still in doubt.

As well as Kurds, the protest was also supported by some left groups, many of whom with the Kurds see Afrin and Rojava of which it was a detached smaller part as showing a new vision for the future, a revolution for women and democratic autonomy and important in the fight against Islamist fascism. It is this that inspires men and women – like Anna Campbell – to go and fight with the YPG and the YPL in much the same way as in the 1930s many went to fight against Franco in Spain. The protest called for a cease-fire and for her body to be returned to her family in Sussex.

One marcher in particular seemed to me to embody the fighting spirit of the Kurds as she pushed her walking frame in front of her with a photograph of a child victim of war. I made a whole series of pictures of her before I had to leave the march and you can see several more of them, along with other pictures on My London Diary.

Defend Afrin – Bring Anna Home


There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

To order prints or reproduce images


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.