Protests held worldwide in solidarity with Aleppo

Protests held worldwide in solidarity with Aleppo
Worldwide outrage over killings in Aleppo by regime forces brought people on the streets of European and US cities on Tuesday to protest against Western inaction.
3 min read
14 December, 2016
Protesters around the world gathered on Tuesday in solidarity with Aleppo [Getty]
Protests and vigils were held in cities aross the world on Tuesday evening to show solidarity with civilians in the last rebel districts in East Aleppo following reports of massacres by regime forces.

Aleppo had been under seige and bombardment for years, but opposition resistance finally crumbled in the last few days, leading to reports of further atrocities committed by regime forces in the city.

In London, hundreds gathered outside Prime Minister Theresa May's residence at 10 Downing Street to protest at the lack of action by the UK in protecting the city's civilian population. According to the organisers of the event, a group called Youth4Aleppo, the protesters gathered to demand "the unrestricted delivery of humanitarian aid - including air drops - and the safe evacuation of all civilians and non-combatants from Aleppo".

The UK on Tuesday held an emergency parliamentary debate on the situation in Aleppo, resulting in a reiteration of the government's stance of calling for President Bashar al-Assad to step down.

A smaller vigil was also held in Manchester by the Syrian community and supporters of the opposition.

Meanwhile in Turkey's Istanbul, thousands also took to the streets to show solidarity with those who are now at the mercy of government troops in Aleppo, staging a protest outside the Russian embassy.

Thousands of Protesters gathered outside the Russian embassy in Istanbul [Anadolu]

These protests came as Turkey confirmed on Tuesday that a ceasefire deal was agreed between Russia and the Syrian opposition to allow rebels to evacuate eastern Aleppo. 

Elsewhere in Turkey, social media posts showed images of Turkish women who had painted dolls to symbolise the children killed in the Syrian regime's brutal advance. 

On the same day, similar protests were held in the Belgian capital Brussels and in Malmo in Sweden, where the same message of outrage at international inaction to save civilians was expressed.

In Syria itself, vigils and protests were also held in rebel-controlled areas. Social media posts on Tuesday showed civilians in the open air holding candles in rebel-held Ghouta, a city that caught the world's attention in 2013 when the Syrian regime perpetrated one of the worst chemical attacks of the war against civilians.

The fall of eastern Aleppo, which has resisted regime advances since 2012, will deal a major blow to the Syrian opposition and expose many civilian lives to further threats of violence. According to the United Nations, credible reports have confirmed that at least 82 civilians - including 11 women and 13 children - have been executed by regime troops in recent days.

Witnesses on the ground have also described scenes of horrendous carnage, including that of rape and indiscriminate killing by government forces. 

Having once been an economic and cultural hub in Syria, Aleppo is now a city drastically changed by years of regime bombardment and siege of previously rebel-controlled areas.