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Thousands protest Aleppo siege near Turkish border

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Syrian boys fake to be dead, next to the words "War Crimes" written with candles, during a demonstration in support of the inhabitants of the embattled Syrian city of Aleppo, in Thessaloniki, on December 16, 2016. SAKIS MITROLIDIS / AFP

Syrian boys fake to be dead, next to the words “War Crimes” written with candles, during a demonstration in support of the inhabitants of the embattled Syrian city of Aleppo, in Thessaloniki, on December 16, 2016.<br />SAKIS MITROLIDIS / AFP

Several thousand people protested Saturday on the Turkish border against the siege of Syria’s second city of Aleppo that has prevented deliveries of much-needed aid.

The crowds arrived in bus and car convoys from across the country under the slogan “Open the Way for Aleppo” close to Turkey’s Cilvegozu border gate which has become a key hub for transporting the wounded from Aleppo.

They unfurled banners reading “Aleppo cannot be left under bombardment”.

The action was organised by the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) Turkish Muslim charity, which is playing a large role in the transport of aid for Aleppo and pressing for greater access.

Evacuation from the rebel-held areas of Aleppo has been suspended after renewed clashes — putting on hold a fragile ceasefire deal brokered by Russia and Turkey.

Ankara has stepped up diplomacy with all major actors including Iran, with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu speaking 13 times on the phone with Iranian counterpart Friday alone.

“Murderer Russia, get out of Syria!” chanted the crowds gathering around three kilometres from the Turkish border crossing Cilvegozu that faces Syria’s Bab al-Hawa.

“Iran will have to defend its actions in front of the ummah (Islamic community)!”

The convoys also brought aid to be delivered to Syrians being evacuated from Aleppo. According to the IHH, thousands of cars and over 1,500 aid trucks have arrived in the border area as a result of their appeal.

“God willing, we will not leave our brothers to the hands of the tyrants,” Kubra, a young female protester, told AFP.

The UN Security Council could vote as early as this weekend on a French-drafted proposal to allow international observers in Aleppo and ensure urgent aid deliveries.


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