At least 120 killed in Turkey’s invasion of Efrîn / Tobago’s road towards internal self-government

19 to 25 January

Demonstration in Efrîn against the Turkish operation, 19 January.
Demonstration in Efrîn against the Turkish operation, 19 January. Author: VOA News screenshot
WEEKLY ROUNDUP. Turkey’s invasion of the Kurdish region of Efrîn has killed at least 120 in one week, according to the data from an independent monitor. Turkish forces have penetrated Kurdish territory through several border points. Also in the Middle East, a UAE-backed pro-independence movement in South Yemen says that it has begun a procedure to overthrow the Yemeni government. In the Americas, the process towards internal self-government for the island of Tobago is moving forward. Chinese authorities say they will build a “Great Wall” along 5,700 kilometers of border in East Turkestan.


Turkish invasion of Efrîn kills at least 120 in one week. Since January 19, 42 members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), 48 rebels allied to Turkey and 2 Turkish soldiers have died in combat. 32 civilians have also been killed —30 of them by Turkish forces and 2 by the SDF. Data are according to the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (SOHR). SDF and Turkish army counts are higher, and they speak of hundreds of killed on the enemy’s side.

The Turkish army, with the support of Syrian and foreign rebels —some of them Islamists—, launched the operation to invade the Efrîn region — the westernmost of the Kurdish movement-led Democratic Federation of Northern Syria— on 19 January.

Mentrestant, les autoritats turques estan detenint periodistes i polítics dins de Turquia per haver publicat,a les xarxes socials, apunts crítics amb la invasió.

The Turkish army and its allies have managed to occupy a handful of villages within Efrîn, along the Syrian-Turkish border. Kurdish-majority SDF —defense forces of the Democratic Federation— have prevented them from penetrating further into the interior of Efrîn. The evolution of the military map can be followed via the website.

Meanwhile, Turkish police is arresting journalists and politicians in Turkey for having voiced criticism with the invasion through social networks.


Tobago in new step towards internal self-government.It is anticipated that a bill on Tobago’s enhanced autonomy will be tabled before the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago in April. The proposal is set to devolve the Tobago Assembly law-making powers. The reform should be linked to a constitutional reform, which is being studied since 2015. Meetings between Trinidad and Tobago government officials and politicians and Tobago representatives on the proposed changes are being held in January. Self-government for Tobago was a commitment of the winning party of the 2015 general election, the People’s National Movement.

South Yemen’s pro-independence activists to “overthrow” Yemeni government. The Southern Transition Council (STC) has announced it has decreed “a state of emergency” in Aden, the capital of South Yemen. STC leader Aidarous al-Zubaidi has warned the Yemeni Parliament it will not be allowed to convene anywhere in South Yemen unless president Mansour Hadi dismisses the entire government. Hadi and the South Yemeni secessionists have fought as allies in the Yemeni civil war, but each has different sponsors. Hadi is supported by Saudi Arabia, while the STC is backed by the UAE. The secessionists want to bring back to life the independent state that South Yemen had from 1967 to 1990. Yemen is now divided into several control zones.

“Great Wall” in East Turkestan against “extremism, separatism and terrorism”. These are words by president of China’s Xinjiang, or East Turkestan, Shokrat Zakir, as quoted by state-run China Daily. Zakir says that control measures will be strengthened along the borders of East Turkestan (5,700 kilometers) in order not to leave “gaps or blind spots”. East Turkestan is the home country of the Uyghur people. Chinese authorities blame the Uyghur independence movement for maintaining links with Islamist terrorism. Main Uyghur international organization World Uyghur Congress denies having any connection with terrorism.