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Paul McLoughlin

Syria's Aleppo makes dramatic SOS call to London

Syrian campaigners in Aleppo are calling for the UK to end the bombing [Facebook]

Date of publication: 19 May, 2016

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From bombed-out Aleppo, a simple message was sent to the people of London on Wednesday - 'Aleppo is Burning' - as Syrian activists ask Londoners to recognise their 'Blitz Spirit'.
Syrian activists in the UK dropped a 12 metre "Aleppo is Burning" banner from London's famed Royal Festival Hall on Wednesday.

Protesters said the action was part of a wider campaign to highlight the devastating bombing Aleppo has endured during five years of war, which intensified from last month.

The campaigners said they took the action on behalf of Syrian opposition councils in Aleppo who have called on London's new mayor Sadiq Khan to show solidarity by twinning the UK capital with the Syrian city.

"We are asking London to stand in solidarity with Aleppo and to be a champion the message that civilians need to be protected, hospitals shouldn't be bombarded, and children should not have to live in fear anymore," said a spokesperson from Syria Solidarity UK

"We are counting on the people, the activists, and the politicians to do everything they can to achieve that goal. The protection of civilians in Syria has to be the priority of any UK policy about Syria. We are hoping to meet Mr. Sadiq Khan soon to deliver the letter from Aleppo council by hand and to ask him to twin London with Aleppo."

London - home to over 8 million people from across the world - has its own experiences of bombing.

The city suffered horrendous air raids from Nazi German bombers during the Blitz, an eight month bombing campaign during the Second World War designed to snuff-out British resistance. It was unsuccessful but reduced large parts of East London to rubble, and left tens of thousands dead.


Syrian activists in bombed out Aleppo are now asking Londoners to remember this period and help the suffering of Syrians falling victim to regime and Russian bombing during the present day.

"Seventy five years ago, London was burning in the Blitz. Today, Aleppo is burning; burning because of deliberate attacks by Syria's own dictator [Bashar] al-Assad and his Russian ally [Vladimir] Putin. Many more people have been killed by Assad than were killed in the Blitz," the group said in a statement.

Around half a million Syrians are believed to have died in five years of war, most of them civilians who lost their lives after regime bombing, snipers, artillery and sieges.

More than half the country's population has been made homeless and large parts of Syria's largest cities abandoned after being levelled by barrel bombs.

London's fire brigade have already shown support by sending emergency equipment to the White Helmets civil defence teams, behind the rescue of thousands of Syrians after regime aid raids and shelling. 

Meanwhile, medical staff in London have marched in solidarity with health workers in Syria who are also subject to routine bombing.

Now Syrians are asking all Londoners to show their support to the people of Aleppo and call for the UK to lead efforts to end the bombing.

"We call on London to help Aleppo where it can: to help Aleppo's hospitals - bombed by Assad and his allies - to help Aleppo's schools, forced into basements by barrel bombs."

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