Protest against Aleppo bombing at Russian embassy in Dublin

Protest held as UN envoy urges all sides to allow delivery of relief supplies to ravaged city

A protest against the bombing of Aleppo in Syria was mounted today outside the Russian embassy at Rathgar, Co Dublin.

A group of activists help up a large banner proclaiming "We Stand With Children of Syria", and statements such as "Ireland Solidarity with People of Aleppo."

One said: "Assad + Russia - 260 airstrikes in 8 days. #AleppoSolidarity."

A boy held a poster with an image of destruction and the slogan, “This isn’t happening in a galaxy far, far away.”


Protest organiser Brendan Butler, who contacted other activists including from the Irish Syria Solidarity Movement, held up a letter to be sent to the Russian ambassador to Ireland, Maxim Peshkov.

“The continuing unrelentless [sic] bombing of Aleppo,” he wrote, “with the resultant indiscriminate civilian deaths must cease.

‘Pivotal role’

“Your government plays a pivotal role with the Syrian government, and is in a position to bring about an immediate ending of the bombardment of Aleppo.”

He added that the Russian government should facilitate the United Nations in its efforts to bring about a 48-hour ceasefire so that humanitarian aid including medicines and food may reach the beleaguered civilian population of the war-ravaged city.

“Please forward our request to your government in Moscow,” the letter concluded.

“Yours sincerely, Brendan Butler.”

The “peaceful gathering”, he stated separately, was in protest against “the continuing bombing of Aleppo by Syrian and Russian planes causing untold deaths of civilians and the destruction of hospitals in this historic city is an affront to our common humanity and a war crime”.

A call was placed to the embassy seeking comment on the protest and The Irish Times was asked to call back on Monday.

The protest was held as the United Nations special envoy for Syria called for all warring sides to agree by Sunday to allow the first safe delivery of relief supplies to Aleppo.

Humanitarian pause

The UN is seeking a weekly 48-hour humanitarian pause to deliver food, medicines and other aid to people in rebel-held eastern Aleppo as well as those in the government-controlled western part of Syria’s second city. It also wants to repair the electricity system to deliver power and clean water supplies to 1.8 million people, amid fears of disease outbreaks.

Staffan de Mistura said in a statement on Saturday that for logistical and operational reasons convoys must go via the Castello Road during the first pause, although he was aware of rebel opposition to using that government-controlled route.

“The Special Envoy calls for all concerned to exert every effort so that, by this Sunday, 28 August 2016, we know where we stand,” de Mistura said. There should be “no (military) escalation in areas adjacent or around the area of the pause”.

Russia, the main ally of the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad, has already accepted the UN plan saying it is ready to ensure compliance, while the US and other states are working to get other parties to commit, Mr de Mistura said.

Baby milk removed

UN agencies have said supplies including surgical material for treating war wounds and even baby milk have been removed from UN convoys at government checkpoints throughout the five-year conflict.

The main alliance of rebel groups in Aleppo, in a statement, gave conditional approval to use of Castello road but said the “shortest and fastest” Ramouseh road south of Aleppo should be used in parallel to deliver supplies to eastern Aleppo.

The US and Russia failed on Friday to reach a breakthrough deal on military cooperation and a nationwide cessation of hostilities in Syria, saying they still have issues to resolve before an agreement could be announced.

Mr de Mistura took part in those Geneva talks between US secretary of state John Kerry and Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov.

Additional reporting: Reuters

Peter Smyth

Peter Smyth is a digital production journalist at The Irish Times