Smoke billows from targets in Ras al-Ayn, Syria, during bombardment by Turkish forces. Picture: AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis

* This story has been updated

Cape Town - Kurdish South Africans on Wednesday held a demonstration outside Parliament against the invasion of northern Syria by Turkish forces.

The invasion, which has led to the killing of scores of Kurds by the Turkish army, happened after the US withdrew its troops from Kurdish-held areas close to the Turkish border.

"We are here because since Turkey last week Monday invaded north eastern Syria, which is called Rojava. Since its invasion, as we speak, 300 civilians including children and women have been killed," chairperson of the Kurdish Human Rights Action Group South Africa Mahmoud Patel said.

"They bombed hospitals, water supplies electricity and infrastructure. There is a lot of loss of human life as well as damage to civilian infrastructure," Patel said.

He said Turkey has claimed that it carried the invasion because it wants to create a corridor to patrol  the border.

"We are here say to Turkey 'Stop the invasion, stop killing innocent civilians and please pull out of there and seek dialogue and peaceful ways to resolve whatever issues that are on your side,'" Patel added.

He said they handed their memorandum to the police on advice from one parliamentary official after no one turned up from the Department of International Relations and Cooperation.

Elif Ulgen, Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey in South Africa, meanwhile denied there was an invasion of Northern Syria but said it was a military operation on the Syrian and Turkish border to defend it form terrorist threats.

"It is a military operation according to the UN charter to protect and safeguard our border," she said.

Ulgen also said the military operation would still continue and that Turkey would continue to find solutions and also protect Syrian territory and integrity.

She, however, said casualties was their priority and as such they were minimal.

"There will be some casualties. It is unfortunate but there is no human rights violations," Ulgen said.

Political Bureau