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Turkey-backed forces pull down Kurdish statue in Afrin town centre - statement

Turkish forces and Free Syrian Army are deployed in Afrin, Syria March 18, 2018. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Turkish forces and their Syrian rebel allies damaged and tore down a statue linked to Kurdish culture in the centre of Syria’s Afrin town on Sunday, a statement on a Whatsapp group run by the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces said, citing the Afrin media centre.

The statue was of the blacksmith Kawa, a central figure in a Kurdish legend about the new year celebration of Nawroz. The statement said this was the “first blatant violation of Kurdish people’s culture and history since the takeover of Afrin”.

Turkey-backed forces swept into the northwestern Syrian town of Afrin on Sunday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said.

Reporting by Lisa Barrington; Editing by Catherine Evans