Thousands in Germany protest Turkish crackdown on Kurds (VIDEO)

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At estimated 15,000 people marched in Dusseldorf, Germany on Saturday in a protest against Turkey’s ongoing military crackdown on the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) rebels. They also blasted the EU’s refugee deal with Ankara.

The turnout was far bigger than the 7,000 expected by the organizers from the German Federation of Kurdish groups, Nav-Dem, local police said.

Turkey resumed a crackdown on Kurdish rebels five months ago after a two-year ceasefire. PKK is considered a terrorist organization in Turkey and has been in a guerrilla war with Ankara since 1984. An estimated 40,000 lives have been claimed by the conflict.

Hostilities resumed after the PKK sent fighters to neighboring Syria to help fellow Kurds fight off the forces of the Islamic State terrorist group, which were advancing on the border city of Kobani. Turkey resisted the move, despite formally being part of a US-led coalition fighting IS, which supports the Kurdish war effort.

So far, Turkish airstrikes have targeted Kurdish forces to a greater extent than those of the jihadists.