Syrian refugees living in Londonderry have staged an impromptu protest in the city centre as the harrowing reports of carnage continue to pour out from Aleppo.
The families said they wanted to send a message of solidarity to the people of the besieged city and to register their abhorrence and opposition to the violence being perpetrated against their compatriots in the Syrian city.
We ask the Syrian regime to stop bombarding the besieged area and to give the space for civilians to leaveRami Zahra - Syrian refugee living in Londonderry
The group decided they had to tell their teacher that they had to forego their English lesson today [Tuesday] in order to register their opposition to what is unfolding.
They were joined at the protest by local people supporting their action.
The families displayed the Syrian flag and held up signs carrying messages about what was happening there.
One held a sign stating: “80,000 people besieged in two square kilometres”.
Syrian Journalist Rami Zahra, who is one of those now living in Londonderry, said, via a translator: “We are standing here in solidarity with the people of Aleppo. We are asking the international community to open corridors for the civilians to leave the area.
“We ask the Syrian regime to stop bombarding the besieged area and to give the space for civilians to leave.”
Mr Zahra called on America and the international community not to liaise with the Assad regime, but to open for the civilians to be able to leave peacefully and said that Assad should be taken to an International Court because he was allegedly “responsible for the killing of Syrian people”.
He said that yesterday voices were heard coming from the bombarded areas, including a mother who could hear her child’s cries from under the rubble but with no-one to help reach her.
“There are no words to describe what is happening at the moment,” he added.
Local community activist Frankie McMenamin was among those from the city who joined the protestors. He said: “I want to give my full support to the people who gathered here today and who are protesting against what is happening in Syria.”
Harrowing reports from Aleppo over the past 24 hours include men, women and children being executed on the spot by soldiers, as well as children being trapped under rubble and in buildings in areas under heavy bombardment.