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Friday 4 November 2016

Concern for the fate of Aleppo mounts as Russia promises to intensify military campaign

By Yasmine Nahlawi, Rethink Rebuild

“If you do not leave these areas urgently, you will be annihilated. You know that everyone has given up on you. They left you alone to face your doom and nobody will give you any help.”

Message dropped on residents of East Aleppo by Assad/Russia

As the world is focused upon the upcoming US elections, Syrian civilians and activists are gravely concerned regarding a predicted renewed Russian offensive on Aleppo, which has already borne the brunt of Russia’s brutality, including through its use of cluster munitions and bunker-busting missiles.

Syrian journalist Rami Jarrah issued an ‘Urgent Distress Call for Aleppo’ on 2 November in which he detailed that Russia has allegedly ‘notified anti-government rebels in besieged Eastern Aleppo to leave via two corridors between 9am and 7pm this Friday.’ Jarrah continued that ‘this can only mean that when the deadline comes the bombardment of Aleppo will see an escalation’.

In light of Russia’s apparent determination to continue its criminal and barbaric actions, we are calling upon policy makers and the media to ensure that Russian crimes continue to be exposed even as the world’s attention threatens to be diverted to the US elections.

Rethink Rebuild Society Advocacy Coordinator Dr. Haytham Alhamwi says, ‘The least we can ask is that the media report closely on the situation in Syria over the next week and to discuss the position of the two US presidential candidates with respect to their positions on Russia and Assad’s crimes in Syria. Policy makers should also continue to stress the importance of civilian protection in Syria so that Putin and Assad understand that the world is watching.’

Protest organised by The Syria Campaign and Syria Solidarity UK in front of the Russian embassy to highlight Russia’s criminal involvement in Syria.

In a street action on 3 November, The Syria Campaign and Syria Solidarity UK protested outside the Russian embassy to shift international attention towards Russia’s criminal actions in Syria (See images below). Two activists chained themselves to the Russian embassy’s gate while a display of over 800 mannequin limbs spilled out of the embassy’s front gates to symbolise Russia’s commission of war crimes in Syria.

One of these activists, in an email issued by The Syria Campaign, said, ‘We’re here because Russian warplanes are killing Syrian children in their beds. We’re here because doctors and rescue workers are being bombed for trying to save lives. We’re here because in eastern Aleppo, more than 800 people have been killed this past month alone.’

The street action was also covered via video by The Syria Campaign and can be seen here.

Rethink Rebuild Society has established itself as a non-profit organisation that acts as an umbrella for the Syrian community in Manchester, and endeavours to clarify the Syrian cause to its audience in the UK and the wider public.

For further information and press enquiries, please contact Yasmine at advocacy@rrsoc.org.