More than 200 people have been detained while 34 have been arrested for criticizing on social media or protesting a Turkish military incursion into northern Syria, according to Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency.
Turkey launched its long-planned Operation Peace Spring on Oct. 9 aimed at taking out the Kurdish forces it sees as terrorists but which most of the West views as key partners in the fight against Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants. The Turkish military operation began days after a surprise and widely criticized White House announcement that US forces would withdraw from the region.
Between Oct. 9 and Oct. 17, Turkish courts ruled to arrest on charges of terrorism 34 people across the country who criticized the Syria incursion from their social media accounts or staged a protest against it. Among the more than 200 who were detained for the same reason, some were released on judicial probation, meaning that they need to regularly check in at a police station.
On the evening of Oct. 17 Turkey agreed to a five-day ceasefire in northeast Syria to allow for the withdrawal of Kurdish forces following a meeting between US Vice President Mike Pence and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.