Middle East

Aleppo Syria: Global shows of solidarity over Aleppo

A Turkish student cries during a protest to show solidarity with trapped citizens of Aleppo, Syria, in Sarajevo, Bosnia Image copyright Reuters
Image caption A Turkish student cries during a protest in Sarajevo, Bosnia

The final cries for help from rebel-held areas of Aleppo - heard against a backdrop of falling bombs - have horrified many thousands across the world.

But for the vast majority, there is little they feel they can do but watch, helpless, as Syrian government forces and their allies close in.

Yet there are individuals - and sometimes cities and countries - who have decided to do something, whether it be protest, donate or make a simple show of solidarity.

Like Qatar, which has cancelled its national day of celebration on 18 December - usually a spectacular with fireworks and a parade along the promenade.

The emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, said the decision had been made "in solidarity with our people in the city of Aleppo, those who are subjected to the worst kind of repression and torture, displacement and genocide".

In Paris, the Eiffel Tower went dark to "alert the international community to the need for urgent action" in east Aleppo, while hundreds of people took to the streets of Istanbul to blame Iran, an ally of Syria's government, for the failed start of a cease-fire deal.

In cities as far apart as London, Sarajevo and Amman, protesters poured on to the streets to show their anger at the events in the rebel-held areas.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Paris's iconic Eiffel Tower went dark in a show of solidarity
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Protesters in London wanted the safe evacuation of residents
Image copyright EPA
Image caption In areas of Syria controlled by the Free Syrian Army, there were solidarity demonstrations

Some were burning pictures of President Vladimir Putin, angry at Russia's role in the fall of east Aleppo.

Others held up pictures of injured, dead and dying children to illustrate the cost of the battle to the most innocent.

In Syria itself - torn apart by more than five years of civil war - people came out, holding candles and signs in a peaceful protest in Douma, a town near Damascus held by the rebel Free Syrian Army.

But people have not just been showing their solidarity on the streets: others have gone online to express their anguish at watching events unfold.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption In Jordan, protesters gathered outside the Russian embassy
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Moroccans gathered outside parliament in the capital Rabat
Image copyright EPA
Image caption Kuwaitis also marched on the local Russian embassy

In Illinois, a teacher has been expressing solidarity with the residents of Aleppo through his artwork.

In the past few days, Marc Nelson has been sharing his drawings - inspired by the pictures emerging from the besieged district - on Twitter, writing: "My students and I want you to know we are grieving for you #Aleppo. We will always raise our voices for you."

Image copyright Twitter/@marcnelsonart
Image caption Teacher Marc Nelson shares pictures inspired by photos from Aleppo
Image copyright Instagram
Image caption This Instagram post turns the word "Aleppo" into a tear
Image copyright Twitter
Image caption #Aleppo has been trending on Twitter

On Instagram, the word "Aleppo", written in Arabic, was transformed into a weeping eye on numerous accounts.

Others, including Brazilian supermodel Adriana Lima, shared photographs from east Aleppo.

"My heart is breaking for Aleppo," Lima wrote in a post liked 163,000 time. "Please know that you are LOVED and that we are raising our voices for you so you are not forgotten.

"Everyone: please continue to spread word about this tragic situation."

Image copyright Instagram

Others turned their attention to what they could do to help the many charities working in Syria.

Popular YouTuber Tanya Burr urged people to donate to the UN Refugee Agency, while American television host Ellen De Generes called on people to act if they felt helpless.

"Watching the news from #Aleppo, I feel so powerless," she wrote. "If you feel the same, you can support Doctors w/o Borders [Medicins sans Frontieres]."

Image copyright Twitter
Image copyright Twitter
Image copyright Twitter
Image copyright Twitter

A number of petitions have also gained support since Monday.

A petition started by Dr Hamza Al Khatib, one of the last doctors still working in east Aleppo, has reached almost 500,000 signatures: the number of signatories has surged in the last few days, with people like the British actress Samantha Morton urging others to add their name.

This petition - along with ones calling for aid drops and safe evacuations - will be handed to UK Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Barack Obama.