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France: Lyon square to be named after murdered Kurdish politician

Hevrin Khalaf was taken from her car and murdered in 2019, with Turkish-backed mercenaries said to be responsible
The French city of Lyon will pay tribute to Hervin Khalaf after she was killed in 2019 (Screengrab/Twitter)

The French city of Lyon will pay tribute to the murdered Kurdish politician and activist Hevrin Khalaf by naming a square after her. 

According to local media, the square, located in the Guillotiere district of Lyon, will be called "place Hevrin Khalaf". The Lyon city council unanimously voted on the name on Friday. 

The inauguration of the square will take place later this year, on 21 September.

Fanny Dubot, mayor of the seventh borough of Lyon, wrote on Twitter that the naming of the square would be a tribute to Khalaf.

Translation: The city council of #Lyon7 has approved the name of Hevrin Khalaf for the square. This pays homage to the emblematic figure of peace in a country at war. Syrian, Kurdish and a feminist, murdered at 35 years old. A tribute. 

Activist, politician and women’s rights defender 

In October 2019, Khalaf, a 35-year-old prominent women’s rights defender and politician, was dragged from her car along with her driver and other civilians and executed on the side of the road. 

IS militants and Turkish shelling were initially cited as being responsible for the cause of her death, with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) militia and Syrian Observatory for Human Rights activist group later blaming Turkey-backed Syrian rebels.

In a statement, the SDF said that Khalaf was taken out of her car during a Turkish-backed attack and executed by Turkish-backed mercenary factions.

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The offensive came after Turkey and its allied fighters attempted to push back the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) from its border, describing them as a "terrorist" group with links to Kurdish rebels in Turkey. 

Khalaf was the head of the Future Syria Party and was a member of the leadership of the Syrian Democratic Council. 

In a statement, the Future Party described Khalaf’s death as a "martyrdom". “With utmost grievance and sadness, the Syria Future Party mourns the martyrdom of the engineer Havrin Khalaf, the general secretary of Syria Future Party, while she was performing her patriotic and political duties.” 

The killing of Khalaf later resulted in Donald Trump, at that time the US president, placing sanctions on Turkey. 

Before the sanctions were announced, the Turkish and US presidents spoke by phone, with Trump outlining why he was now penalising Ankara after having previously seemed to be accepting of Turkey’s operation.

“Trump mentioned a couple of reasons for the sanctions he imposed on Turkey. One reasoning given by Trump was the killing of Future Syria Party leader Hervin Khalaf, a former member of the PKK’s Syrian political wing, the PYD,” a Turkish official with knowledge of the conversation told MEE.

“He also mentioned other things, such as loss of civilian life and fleeing Islamic State prisoners.”