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Tens of thousands of Kurds in Turkey rally to support Syrian city of Kobani, besieged by IS

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CAYKARA, Turkey — Tens of thousands of Kurds rallied in Turkish cities Saturday in solidarity with the embattled Syrian city of Kobani, which has been under a brutal siege by the Islamic State group.

In Diyarbakir, in the heart of the Kurdish region in Turkey's southeast, protesters marched peacefully, chanting: "Long live the struggle for Kobani."

The assault on Kobani has largely emptied the city that was once home to hundreds of thousands.

PHOTO: Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighters cheer as they leave the outskirts of Suruc, Turkey, towards the Turkey-Syria border, on the way to the Syrian city of Kobani,  Friday, Oct. 31, 2014. The 10 peshmerga fighters from Iraq who entered the embattled northern Syrian town of Kobani one day earlier returned to Turkey Friday to prepare for their forces' full deployment, and a senior Kurdish official blamed Ankara for the delay. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighters cheer as they leave the outskirts of Suruc, Turkey, towards the Turkey-Syria border, on the way to the Syrian city of Kobani, Friday, Oct. 31, 2014. The 10 peshmerga fighters from Iraq who entered the embattled northern Syrian town of Kobani one day earlier returned to Turkey Friday to prepare for their forces' full deployment, and a senior Kurdish official blamed Ankara for the delay. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

The demonstrations in Turkey were the largest of scores of such pro-Kobani rallies in cities worldwide, said Yekbun Eksen, a member of the Federation of Kurdish Associations of France. A rally in Paris mobilized some 8,000 people on Saturday and hundreds of Kurds also marched peacefully in cities in Sweden and Denmark.

In villages along Turkey's border with Syria, Kurdish refugees from Kobani marched within eyeshot of their former home.

One demonstrator, Fatima Muslim said: "I came to show my support for my people and for the blood of our people."

The 55-year-old added: "We've lost everything. They blew up our houses. And now we are in a refugee camp."

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PHOTO: Kurdish girls take part in a solidarity rally with the Syrian city of Kobani in the village of Caykara, Turkey, on the Turkey-Syria border, just across from Kobani, Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014. Tens of thousands of Kurds are rallying in Turkish cities in solidarity with the embattled Syrian city of Kobani, which has been under a brutal siege by the Islamic State group. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
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