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Photo Jane Grimshaw from Hastings Supports Refugees

Candles lit for people of Aleppo

On Saturday (16 December) over 100 people attended a vigil for Aleppo the Stade Open Space. The event was organised by Hastings Supports Refugees to remember the victims of the terrible war in Syria and to send out a message that here in Hastings people are thinking of them. Jamie Osborn from Hastings Supports Refugees writes.

Last week Aleppo, Syria’s largest city before the war, fell to Assad regime forces. Hundreds of thousands of civilians in previously rebel-held areas are being forced to flee their homes, and there are fears that Assadist soldiers have carried out – and may continue to carry out – atrocities.

People around the world have held vigils in solidarity with Aleppo and have called on world leaders to ensure safety and humanitarian aid for all civilans. The people gathered in Hastings on Saturday, lit candles, held a minute’s silence, and took photos and videos to share on social media.

Jane Grimshaw, one of the founders of Hastings Supports Refugees, spoke on behalf of the crowd in Hastings when she said that while it is difficult for observers outside Aleppo to know exactly what is happening on an hour to hour basis, “The fact we all cannot get away from is the enormity of human suffering we are witnessing. The important thing is we have all come here to show solidarity to the people of Eastern Aleppo.” She added: “Maybe people in Aleppo have no access to media and can’t know that we’re standing here thinking of them now. But we can send out a message to all the refugees from Aleppo who are in Europe and who fear for their families that we support them.”

People were also encouraged to contact the Russian and Iranian Embassies and the UK Foreign Office to demand the safety of civilians. Russian and Iranian forces are backing Assad and have significant influence in the war. Pressure from around the world as people tweet using the hashtag #StandwithAleppo is intended to make clear that the world is watching and that massacres and threats of genocide will not go unnoticed.

Over £200 was raised in donations, which will buy oxygen generators for incubators for new-born babies, equipment that charities on the ground in Syria say is essential.

Hastings Supports Refugees thanks everyone for their ongoing support and generosity.

Read about Bronwen Griffiths’ book about Syrian refugees, Not Here, Not Us here and a previous article about Hastings Supports Refugees – and what we can do to help – here.

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Posted 08:28 Wednesday, Dec 21, 2016 In: The HOT Planet


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