14th December, 2017 – Reminder re vigil and protest at Dáil Éireann and Dáil Debate on Private Members Motion (Clare Daly) re Sanctions on Syria
Dr Hassan – a Syrian consultant working for many years in Ireland and representative at the time of Syrian Irish Humanitarian Aid urgently appealed to committee members on June 14th 2012: ‘I am begging you all – on behalf of thousands of people who have been killed in Syria, thousands of women who have been raped or widowed, thousands of children who have been orphaned, abused or raped, and thousands of honest people whose hearts are bleeding – to please take action. All of you who are watching this Government killing our people should do something. The one who watches the crime without intervening is partly responsible for that crime. I am begging the Irish Government, through the United Nations and the EU, to do something to protect our people…. How many thousands of people must be killed before we reach the threshold of action? How many women must be raped before action is taken? How many children will have to disappear?’ (The death toll quoted at the time was 15,000. Today it is estimated to be around 500,000.) http://oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie/debates authoring/debateswebpack.nsf/committeetakes/FOJ2012061400003?opendocument
Other speakers included Dr Thomas Pierret, University of Edinburgh, http://oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie/debates authoring/debateswebpack.nsf/committeetakes/FOJ2014041600002?opendocument#A00300
Rafif Jouejati – Syrian American activist met members of the committee informally on two separate visits to Dublin. Rafif is the founder and Director of the FREE-Syria Foundation to Restore Equality and Education in Syria. In addition, she is the English spokeswoman for the activist network of Local Coordinating Committees in Syria, and Executive Committee member of the Day After Project.Dr Nader Hashemi – University of Denver , http://oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie/debates authoring/debateswebpack.nsf/committeetakes/FOJ2014111900002?opendocument#A00100
Dr Farouq Habib – (Mayday Rescue /White Helmets spokesperson) http://oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie/debates authoring/debateswebpack.nsf/committeetakes/FOJ2015102100003?opendocument#D00100
Robin Yassin Kassab – author along with Leila Shami of Burning Country, shortlisted for the 2017 Rathbones Folio prize. http://oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie/Debates Authoring/DebatesWebPack.nsf/committeetakes/FDJ2016120100002?opendocumentDr Roger Hearn – former head of UNRWA in Syria addressed members of the committee by phone regarding his concerns at UN failure in Syria and Assad’s weaponisation of aid http://irishsyriasolidaritymovement.org/2016/07/
Similarly, we condemn outright the reported kidnapping of 54 children from the towns of al-Fu’ah and Kafraya in Syria, who went missing following an attack on 15th April, 2017, on a convoy of buses transporting evacuees from those towns and we support the Irish government’s stated commitment to help with an investigation into what happened to the children.Deputy Clare Daly asserted that the motion she proposed was “simply a humanitarian proposition dealing with the situation facing ordinary Syrian people at the moment… This is about the people of Syria. They do not want our opinions; they want our help.”
For example, though deputies Wallace and Daly visited Damascus, not only did they ignore the brutal onslaught against the population of East Ghouta nearby, but Deputy Wallace shamefully stated regarding the opposition enclaves: “There are two opposition enclaves left. There is not a Syrian in either. They are Saudi and Chechen members of Jabhat al-Nusra and al-Qaeda. This is not the Syrians fighting the Syrians. This is outsiders coming in and creating havoc to destroy a civilisation.” This is untrue and is the same narrative propagated by the Assad regime to try to ensure that blanket bombing remains unchallenged. It leaves the population in these areas at immensely increased risk, a risk Deputy Wallace increases by his casual and untrue assertions in a national parliament.
(High-level panel discussion on the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic-Statement by the High Commissioner http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/RegularSessions/Session35/_layouts/15/WopiFrame.aspx?sourcedoc=/EN/HRBodies/HRC/RegularSessions/Session35/Documents/A_HRC_35_15_AEV.docx&action=default&DefaultItemOpen=1
(14th March 2017)
EAST GHOUTA, EAST ALEPPO, MADAYA, DARAYA, AL-WAER, MOADAMIYA…: As the Dáil debate glossed over East Ghouta, despite Deputy Smith’s amendment and with the fate of East Ghouta already resembling that of East Aleppo – (and that of Madaya, al-Waer, Daraya, Moadamiya, and many other towns) – it is important to remind deputies of UN and other reports on the regime’s barbaric operations with the help of its allies Russia and Iran.
While Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan appears to excuse the Russian intervention as it was in “accordance with international law. Russia was invited into Syria by that country’s Government. That is the reality, regardless of whether we like that Government. All the other interventions, however, are violations of international law.”– she has not appeared to notice that core principles of international law such as the Geneva Convention principle of medical neutrality have been abandoned. The Physicians for Human Rights report on the fall of East Aleppo states: “Syrian hospitals and medical facilities have been attacked – either intentionally or wholly indiscriminately – at least 400 times since the start of the conflict. Well over 90 percent of these attacks have been carried out by Syrian government forces and their Russian allies. The facts speak for themselves. This is not an anti-terror operation. It is a scorched-earth campaign against anyone who threatens the authoritarian rule of President Assad or Russia’s stronghold in the Middle East…As both Syrian and Russian government spokespeople have made plain, anyone who remains in opposition-held areas such as eastern Aleppo or who merely provides assistance, including medical aid, to the opposition will be treated as a terrorist and destroyed.” (The irony of Deputy Mick Wallace’s dismissal of the inhabitants of the remaining opposition enclaves in Damascus as foreign jihadists echoing former U.S. president George W. Bush’s assertion just nine days after 9/11, at the beginning of the war on terror: “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.” !) Physicians for Human Rights – Aleppo in Crisis: “We Have Witnessed the Defeat of the Human Spirit in Aleppo” https://shar.es/1MZOKS http://physiciansforhumanrights.org/blog/aleppo-in-crisis-we-have-witnessed-the-defeat-of-the-human-spirit-in-aleppo.html
Even UN Special envoy for Syria, De Mistura felt obliged to call out the regime’s actions: “it is.. totally unacceptable that the Syrian airforce attacks its own territory in an indiscriminate way, killing its own citizens, as it brutally happened today in Aleppo” http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=51011#.WivFidJl9dh
UN Report: Forced evacuation of East Aleppo was a war crime https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/01/syrian-regime-aleppo-airstrike-aid-convoy-united-nations-report
U.N. Investigators Say Syria Bombed Convoy and Did So Deliberately:
CHILDREN: Children bear the “disproportionate lethal impact” of the Syrian war, according authors of a recent study published in Lancet Global Health. “Over the course of the conflict, the proportion of child civilian casualties increased from 9% of 4,354 deaths in 2011 to 23% of 11,444 civilian deaths in 2016.” Contrary to Deputy Clare Daly’s apparent conclusion that all sides share equal responsibility, the Lancet report states that the rise stemmed from “increased reliance on aerial bombing by the Syrian government and international partners”. Civilians accounted for about 97% of barrel bomb deaths “suggesting indiscriminate or targeted warfare … possibly constituting a war crime”
https://amp.theguardian.com/global-development/2017/dec/07/children-bear-lethal-impact-syrian-war?CMP=share_btn_tw&__twitter_impression=trueFORCED DISPLACEMENT: Deputy Clare Daly euphemistically concludes: “Much of Syrian territory has been retaken and is being rebuilt…. What the Syrian people want is assistance to rebuild.” But there is no apparent recognition of what the regime’s “retaking territory” has entailed – After the barrel bombs and starvation of Syrians in besieged regions, the devastated population has no choice but to leave.
Whereas Deputy Daly concludes her Dáil motion with what seems like an entreaty to her fellow deputies not to be too hard on poor Assad: “Singling out Assad as the only bully in the world does not hold traction”.
REBUILDING SYRIA: Regarding Deputy Daly’s comment re assistance to rebuild Syria – does she mean handing over reconstruction aid to Assad?
Instead local communities must take ownership of any rebuilding plans but unless they are protected from the regime and its external enablers, the reconstruction aid will only serve to strengthen Assad, as is actually already happening in certain areas e.g. East Aleppo report by award–winning Guardian journalist Emma J Beals. http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/11/16/un-allowing-assad-government-to-take-lead-in-rebuilding-aleppo.html )
“Absent a political settlement, rebuilding should focus on areas outside government control. The regime should be bypassed, as the alternative is … almost certain to reinforce those aspects of Syria’s political economy that led to the conflict in the first place.” (Rebuilding Syria by Faysal Itani and Tobias Schneider http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/publications/reports/rebuilding-syria )
CHEMICAL WEAPONS: On 17th November Russia once more wielded its Security Council veto –this time to terminate the ongoing investigation by the UN of the use of chemical weapons in Syria. This despite the fact that it was Russia that undertook to ensure that Syria relinquish its further use of chemical weapons following the 2013 chemical attack on Al-Ghouta. Since then the UN has documented 23 chemical attacks, all of them carried out by the Syrian regime, including the appalling attack in April last on Khan Shaykhun, which as the UN reports ‘killed dozens and wounded hundreds.’ Yet this latest veto by Russia –another gross abuse of its permanent seat on the Security Council –appears to have elicited no obvious reaction either from the Irish Government or from the Dáil members recently returned from Syria?
Role of the UN, major recipient of Irish aid: Despite UN reports on the fall of Aleppo etc, many Syrians feel the UN has failed them. For example the regime has been able to exploit the UN’s role in transporting people after the population has been forced into submission and a local agreement or truce is signed in order to ensure transfer of the population. So the United Nations ends up playing the role of middleman, standing by as residents are expelled from their home regions.
According to reports published by human rights and humanitarian organizations, there are now nearly 6 million Syrian refugees and more than 8 million internally displaced persons within the country, making Syria currently the largest crisis of displaced persons in the world. A Pew Research Center report on refugees states that “about six-in-ten Syrians are now displaced from their homes, a number unprecedented in recent history for a single country”. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/10/05/key-facts-about-the-worlds-refugees/
The Syrian regime along with its Iranian allies are also changing the demographics in the region. “The Syrian regime intends. to expel residents of areas around Damascus, and replace them with Shiite settlers from Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan, who will take over land, homes, and property that does not belong to them”.e.g. “Iran’s intervention in direct negotiations a year ago, when it insisted on implementing demographic change between the region of al-Zabadani, which has a Sunni majority, and Shiite towns of Kufriya and al-Fu’ah near the city of Idlib.’ http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/syriasource/increasing-tactics-of-forced-displacement-in-syria
Dr Annie Sparrow, co–winner of the American Red Cross National Hero award was scathing in her criticism of WHO Syria’s assistance, “which should be delivered according to need, the principle of impartiality, one of WHO’s founding ethical principles. Yet WHO Syria has been anything but an impartial agency serving the needy” and she says has prioritised warm relations with the Syrian government over meeting the most acute needs of the Syrian people.
Similarly, Emma J Beals and Nick Hopkins have done a series of articles for the Guardian exposing the UN’s closeness to the Syrian government and its awarding contracts worth tens of millions of dollars to people closely associated with Assad as part of an aid programme that critics fear is increasingly at the whim of the government in Damascus, a Guardian investigation has found. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/aug/29/un-pays-tens-of-millions-to-assad-regime-syria-aid-programme-contracts Why are such alarming reports on Syria ignored in Dáil debates?
Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Ciaran Cannon states that “Ireland will continue to prioritise the protection of civilians, particularly the most vulnerable of these, including children, in our response to the Syria crisis.” Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Coveney states that “We cannot stand idly by as the Assad regime inflicts such suffering on its people”.
Has minister Coveney for example telephoned the Russian /Iranian embassies as he did immediately following President Trump’s declaration that Jeruslaem would be Israel’s capital?
Are Irish ministers raising their concerns in Brussels, at the UN, and especially with Iranian authorities during trade missions-the 1st ministerial– led trade mission to Tehran following the lifting of sanctions is due any day? (UN coordinator for Syria Jan Egeland rebuke of Iran/Russia for failure to evacuate medical emergencies Eastern Ghouta (https://twitter.com/SemaanDiana/status/939150375256543233 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-42267289)Has Ireland asked the WFP – a huge beneficiary of Irish aid – why food drops are not being arranged for Eastern Ghouta? World Food Programme used JPADS for Deir Ezzor aid drops -Yet the World Food Programme has never made a single aid drop to any territory besieged by the Assad regime or its Iranian-backed ally Hezbollah. The vast majority of besieged areas are under siege from the regime
– http://www.syriauk.org/2017/01/confirmed-world-food-programme-used.html )SANCTIONS: Irish humanitarian assistance for Syria is to be praised but as Robin Yassin Kassab stated last year at the Oireachtas JFAC: “Humanitarian assistance is absolutely essential but insufficient. Currently, 1 million people are under starvation siege in Syria. As much diplomatic and economic pressure as possible should be brought to bear on Russia and Iran to deter their assaults. Irish investment in Iran which, I hear, is speeding up, should be suspended until Iran removes these forces from Syria…Iran’s Shia occupation forces in Sunni majority Syria are one direct cause of the rise of Sunni jihadism. Shia forces are not just policing people; they are murdering them. This is in the interests of the security of Europe. If one does not care about people in Syria, surely one should care about people in Europe. Giving Sunni jihadists and identity groups an excuse for their narrative is not a good idea from a European point of view.”Robin said that Russia should be excluded from the SWIFT banking system “for its repeated war crimes, employing incendiary and cluster bombs and bunker busters on civilian areas and targeting schools, hospitals and aid convoys, including the United Nations aid convoy.”
Robin stated that Assad is responsible for the impact of sanctions: “What is hurting the poor in Syria is Assad’s war and, specifically, starvation sieges. There are also Assad’s checkpoints which charge bribes and so on. If a bag of tea goes through a checkpoint, then the price dramatically increases on the other side because the man in charge of that checkpoint takes his big cut on it, and that happens several times, so prices are inflated. It is because of checkpoints and because of the regime’s behaviour and corruption. The sanctions are not hurting the poor; the Syrian regime is hurting the poor.”Yours,
Irish Syria Solidarity Movement
Gluaiseacht Dlúthpháirtíochta na hÉireann leis an tSiria
10th December, 2017 Dáil Protest – Break Ghouta Siege and Vigil for Douma Four
6th December, 2017 – Online Petition Reminder: Summon Russian Ambassador to Ireland for Syria Abuses
- Combined Assad Regime/Russian massacres in Eastern Ghouta &
- Russia blocking apprehension of perpetrators of Khan Sheikhoun chemical weapons massacre
Please support this petition and promote it as much as you can using the share options below. The petition already has over 100 signatories but we need more names to have the greatest possible impact.
For more details on “summoning”, please see the following link:
24th November, 2017 – ISSM’s response to Famlly Reunification Humanitarian Admission Programme – Update
we would like to draw your attention to two Parliamentary Questions that were submitted to the Minister for Justice. We are very grateful to Mr. Tommy Broghan T.D. (Ind., Dublin Bay North) and Mr. Gino Kenny T.D. (PBP, Dublin Mid-West) for taking the time and trouble to raise these concerns.
Please see both PQs below including the answer from Minister Flanagan to Mr. Broghan’s question.
With thanks in solidarity,
Submitted by Mr. Broghan T.D:
For Written Answer on : 23/11/2017
Question Number(s): 124 Question Reference(s): 49744/17
Department: Justice and Equality
To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will report on the parameters of the family reunification humanitarian programme; if Syrians living here for a number of years will be eligible to apply for family reunification under this programme; his plans to broaden the definition of family member as per the International Protection (Family Reunification) (Amendment) Bill 2017 recently passed by Seanad Éireann; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
On 14 November 2017, I announced my intention to establish a Family Reunification Humanitarian Admission Programme (FRHAP) in support of refugees and their families, as part of the Government’s commitments under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme.
The FRHAP will address the issue of family reunification for some immediate family members coming from established conflict zones that are outside the scope of the International Protection Act 2015. The 2015 Act provides for the family reunification of immediate family members (spouse, civil partner and minor children) in line with the permission operated by other EU Member States under the EU Family Reunification Directive, in which Ireland does not participate.
This humanitarian admission programme will operate under my discretionary powers and is expected to provide for the reunification of more than 500 vulnerable family members in the next two years.
To allow the maximum number of families to benefit from the scheme, sponsors will be asked to prioritise a small number of family members for admission. Priority may be given to sponsors who can meet the accommodation requirements of eligible family members, having regard to the housing situation.
Further operational details on the FRHAP will be announced in the coming weeks following discussions with UNHCR.
The Government does not intend to amend the family reunification provisions under the International Protection Act 2015, which were approved by the Dáil and Seanad. The Seanad Private Members Bill referred to by the Deputy passed Committee Stage in the Seanad on 8 November 2017. The Government does not support the Bill, which would have significant and unquantifiable impacts on the provision of housing, healthcare, education, welfare payments and other State supports. The Bill has not considered the financial impacts of its proposal, therefore, the Government must decline a money message for the Bill. One of the objectives of this new FRHAP programme is that it addresses many of the motivating concerns of the Senators who proposed the Bill.
Submitted by Mr. Gino Kenny (reply pending):
To ask the Minister if he will use his discretionary powers in a humanitarian manner to allow relatives of Syrian residents in Ireland who may be in equally dangerous situations as those of refugees apply for family reunification under FRHAP; if he will consider redefining ‘family member’ using the broader terms proposed in the International Protection (Family Reunification) (Amendment) Bill 2017; and if he will consider setting aside a budget to pay the administration and travel costs of bringing the family members of refugees who often have no means, to Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
16th November, 2017 – Irish Syria Solidarity Movement’s response to Famlly Reunification Humanitarian Admission Programme
Please see below the response of the Irish Syria Solidarity Movement’s to the new Family Reunification Humanitarian Admission Programme (FRHAP) announced this week by the Department of Justice and Equality as sent to all Oireachtas Members.
The ISSM has been actively involved with the wider Syrian Community in Ireland to advocate for a dramatically more humanitarian approach to the issue of family reunification by the Department of Justice and Equality. This issue is naturally of huge importance to Syrians living in Ireland.
We would be very grateful if you would please contact the Minister Charles Flanagan and/or your local T.D so advocate for an important revision of the proposed scheme.
With thanks in solidarity,
Contact details for Ministers Flanagan and Stanton:
|Constituency Office||Dept. of Justice and Equality|
|Minister Charlie Flanagan T.D.||Lismard Court
|Phone: (01) 6183625
|Minister of State David Stanton T.D.||29 St. Mary’s Road,
Phone: 021 463 2867
Phone: 01 479 0285,
On behalf of the Irish Syria Solidarity Movement (ISSM) we are writing to highlight the plight of Syrians in Ireland who have family members trapped in Syria. The situation in Syria remains extremely dangerous for civilians with airstrikes directed at civilian targets every day (please see BBC News report on the bombing of market this week in Aleppo province).
ISSM acknowledges the proposed provision of 530 family reunification places under the Family Reunification Humanitarian Admission Programme (FRHAP) announced by the Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan, on 14th November. However, we are seriously concerned about the restrictive nature of this new scheme.
It is extremely worrying that Syrian residents in Ireland (some of whom are naturalised Irish citizens) whose relatives may be in equally dangerous situations as those of refugees, appear to be excluded from applying for family reunification under FRHAP. ISSM has been contacted by Syrians who have been living and working in Ireland for several years but who have been unable to get visas to bring their elderly parents and other vulnerable family members here.
These Syrian residents are very anxious about members of their families who remain at risk. As they are well-established contributors to Irish society, they would be in an excellent position to support the integration of their relatives, if they were allowed to come to Ireland. We call for these Syrian residents to be granted the right to family reunification, which they and their relatives desperately need, and ask you to urge the Minister to use his discretionary powers in a humanitarian manner to allow admission in these cases.
In relation to Syrian refugees, while the new places provided under FRHAP are significant, a more humane approach would to be to redefine ‘family member’ using the broader terms proposed in the International Protection (Family Reunification) (Amendment) Bill 2017, which was recently passed by the Seanad.
In addition, ISSM is deeply concerned that, despite their very limited means, Syrian refugees whose relatives qualify for family reunification have had to bear the financial burden of bringing their loved ones to Ireland. Some refugees have formed strong friendships with local activists who have undertaken fundraising to enable these relatives to arrive. However, we cannot ignore the plight of refugees who may not have this kind of local support, whose family members are equally at risk but who cannot afford essential visas and flights. We therefore call on the government to set aside a budget to pay the administration and travel costs of bringing the family members of refugees to Ireland.
We appeal to you raise with the Minister for Justice and Equality these concerns regarding the family members of both Syrian refugees and Syrian residents. We sincerely hope these issues will be taken into consideration so as to ensure a truly humanitarian response to family reunification for the vulnerable relatives of Syrians in Ireland.
Looking forward to hearing from you soon.
3rd November, 2017 – Dublin Launch of Documentary Film ” Syria – The Impossible Revolution”
the Irish Syria Solidarity Movement is honoured to promote the Dublin Launch of the documentary film “Syria – The Impossible Revolution”.
‘Syria – The Impossible Revolution’
Three years in the making this feature length documentary offers unique insights into the roots of the Syrian Revolution and how what began as a peaceful uprising turned into a very brutal conflict as the Assad regime cracked down.
‘Syria – The Impossible Revolution,’ a film by Anne daly and Ronan Tynan, seeks to unravel the roots and ‘complexities’ of the bloodiest conflict in the Middle East as well as the politics of the Western response. It also examines why some elements on the Left are on the same page as the extreme Right defending the Assad regime against “US imperialism” apparently oblivious to the role of Iran and especially Russia and her indiscriminate bombing of civilians as well as hospitals which many charge are warcrimes?
The film traces the roots of the Syrian revolution through the regime of Assad’s father up to the fall of Aleppo. Using extensive archive and interviews with a wide range of people directly involved as well as experts on the region, the documentary seeks to offer some understanding about a conflict that has plumbed new depths in terms of the toll it has extracted on civilians. Some suggest more than five hundred thousand are already dead, half the population have fled their homes and five millions are now refugees in Europe and neighbouring countries with little prospect of returning any time soon.
The film also examines the rise of the jihadis including Islamic State and Al Qaeda with evidence partly nurtured by Assad as he tries to present himself as “fighting the war on terror”. Meanwhile, the country has drawn in almost every major power, as well as all of the leading regional powers. But one thing is clear, civilians and ordinary Syrians seem to count for little or nothing in their calculations.
‘Syria – The Impossible Revolution’ was made by Esperanza Productions and produced by Ronan Tynan and Anne Daly.
12th October – Syria International Day of Rage – Russian Embassy, Dublin
2nd October, 2017 – Please phone Russian Ambassador to Ireland
With the forced displacement of opposition civilians from all over Syria to Idlib the stage was set for Assad’s final ‘cleansing’. The escalation of the bombing of civilian targets – homes, hospitals, schools – has led to horrific casualties. There are dozens of images on social media of dead children, children with limbs missing, children trapped under buildings, children begging for rescue, children taking their last breaths.
Russia is playing a leading role on a daily basis in this slaughter. What they did in Aleppo they are doing again, with the difference that there is nowhere else to forcibly displace people to, there will be no green buses, this is the final annihilation.
Please contact the Russian Ambassador to Ireland by phone, email, letter, by calling to his gate in person (all details below) – and let him and his genocidal master know that what they are doing is seen, known, abhorred and documented.
For a detailed report of the what two years of Russian military intervention has meant for Syrian civilians, please see this report from the Syrian Network for Human Rights, titled: The Second Anniversary of the Russian Intervention in Syria – 5,233 Civilians Killed, Including 1,417 children and 886 women.
Ambassador Maxim Peshkov
184-186 Orwell Road, Rathgar, Dublin 14
Tel +3531 4922048
Fax: +3531 4923525
12th September, 2017 – White Helmets Ceremony at St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin – recording of event
Tree Planting In Dublin To Honour Syria Civil Defence – The White Helmets
we informed you last week about a tree-planting event that was to take place in St. Stephen’s Green in Dublin. This was to pay tribute to the White Helmets on the occasion of them having been awarded the Tipperary International Peace Prize.
This very moving ceremony was recorded and is available to view here for anyone who is interested.
6th September, 2017 – White Helmets to be honoured at ceremony St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin
TREE PLANTING IN HONOUR OF
THE SYRIA CIVIL DEFENCE
‘THE WHITE HELMETS’
7th September, 12 Noon, St. Stephen’s Green
Irish Syria Solidarity Movement is delighted to host the ceremonial planting of an native oak tree in honour of the Syrian White Helmets and in recognition of their being awarded the 2016 Tipperary Peace Prize. A representative of the White Helmets will be present.
The event will also pay tribute to the Syrian people who continue to suffer displacement, torture and death in a unrelenting war. The ceremony will take place at 12 noon on Thursday 7th September in Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, at the Arboretum, on the west side of the central formal garden.
This ceremony, together with the award of the prestigious Tipperary Peace prize, is a timely, appropriate and richly deserved recognition of the boundless heroism that has been displayed by the White Helmets throughout the war in Syria. They have provided the only real defence for Syrians in opposition-held areas under the cruel bombardment from the air forces of the Syrian regime and its Russian ally.
It is also testament to the suffering of the people of Syria in their legitimate struggle to be free of tyrannical rule of the Assad dynasty.
27th August, 2017 – Tipperary International Peace Prize for Syrian White Helmets
“When the bombs rain down, the Syrian Civil Defense rush in. In the most dangerous place on earth these unarmed volunteers risk their lives to help anyone in need regardless of religion or politics.” quote by the late Jo Cox when nominating the White Helmets for the Nobel Peace Prize (British M.P. Jo Cox was murdered by a right-wing extremist in June 2016)
the Irish Syria Solidarity Movement warmly welcomes the news that the Syrian Civil Defence Organisation known as the White Helmets is to receive the 2016 Tipperary International Peace Award on September the 6th at Ballykisteen Hotel, County Tipperary.
Members of the Irish Syria Solidarity Movement will be attending the award ceremony and we feel honoured and humbled to have the opportunity to be there. We regret to note that some Irish media commentators have been helping to propagate the sophisticated and sustained online campaign of vilification against the White Helmets. While we don’t ascribe blame to Irish media professionals for inventing the fallacious White Helmets horror stories that are being propagated online, we are entitled to expect more rigorous research from them. Thorough research of the White Helmets would soon reveal that they are neither CIA stooges nor al-Qaeda henchmen – as is the gist of the main Kremlin-inspired narratives. In our view, it is utterly disgraceful that the phenomenal courage and incredible resolve of these humanitarians is being perversely twisted in this way. Please see the links provided below for further details on the White Helmets.
Any support that we can give at this event may help to stifle these maliciously adverse narratives intended to malign the White Helmets and other opposition-aligned entities in Syria. These narratives seek to portray the Assad regime as a bulwark against terrorism and Putin as a strong and decisive leader who is steering Syria out of this terrible crisis. In that context, the White Helmets are a particular thorn in the side of Putin and the Assad regime. Putin and Assad are consequently hell-bent on destroying the reputation of the White Helmets. We would therefore be delighted and grateful for any and all who might be able to share this rare and special occasion with us as a demonstration of continuing support for the herculean efforts of this band of heroes!
We would like to take this opportunity to ask anyone who is active on social media to please call out any individuals who propagate fake stories about the White Helmets from sites like, RT.com, Sputniknews.com, southfront.org, mintpressnews.com, criticalunity.org, theduran.com or notorious commentators such as Eva Bartlett or Vanessa Beeley.
For details of the ceremony, etc., please contact us at this email address or, alternatively, the event organisers directly. Likewise, if you cannot attend but would like to send a message of support, please contact the event organisers using the aforementioned link.
Thank you sincerely.
24th August, 2017 – Snap protest outside U.S. Embassy to protest at spiralling civilian casualties in Raqqa
to protest at the terrifying increase in civilian casualties in Syria’s Raqqa – attributable primarily to the U.S.-led “International Coalition” – we are asking all supporters to meet outside the U.S. Embassy on Elgin Road in Ballsbridge, Dublin on Friday 25th August at 6pm.
Al Jazeera reports that at least 100 civilians were killed on Tuesday over a 48-hour span by US-led air attacks on Raqqa. AirWars maintains comprehensive civilian casualty information resulting from airstrikes in Iraq, Syria and Libya. The figures for August are available on airwars.org. AirWars calculate that, since 2014, between 5,117 and 7,927 civilians in Iraq and Syria have been killed by coalition forces. A new report from Amnesty International provides ample evidence that coalition forces are prepared to accept “collateral damage” in Raqqa on a vast scale in order achieve their objective of ousting IS.
At the embassy, we will deliver a letter to the ambassador deploring the indiscriminate nature of the U.S. attacks and demanding, on behalf of the Irish people, that the appropriate safeguards to protect civilians – as required by international law – be put in place immediately.
We apologise for the short notice being given for this protest but the urgency of the situation demands a swift response. Please join us if you can. If you can not join us, please contact the US embassy on +353 1 668-8777. By choosing option “0” you will be connected to an operator. Please ask to be put through to the Public Affairs section of the embassy. Should you get transferred to a “comment line”, please leave a message and your phone number so that they can call you back.
ps. On a separate matter, we will be organising some events around the Tipperary International Peace Prize Award ceremony which it taking place on 6th September in Co. Tipperary and is being given to the Syrian White Helmets. In our view, these are the ultimate humanitarians and are very deserving recipients of the prize. Please keep the date free if you can!
3rd August, 2017 – After ISIS – please get in touch with Raqqa activists
Sent on behalf of the Syria Campaign:
Raqqa, the city where I was born in 1991, used to be the forgotten city of Syria. The TV weather forecast even missed us out. Now as the capital of the Islamic State, the name of Raqqa is never far from the lips of world leaders.
To me, Raqqa is the city where I grew up and where I have my friends and relatives. It’s the city where I speak my accent (I miss it now) and where I went to school and spent my childhood. Raqqa is a place where everyone knows everyone else. If you don’t know someone directly, you’ll know his brother. And if you don’t know his brother, you’ll definitely know his cousin.
When I grew up everyone wanted to leave Syria for work – usually to somewhere like Dubai. But that’s because the government was controlling 80% of the economy. A country that has oil, gas, historical sites, antiquities, ancient civilisation, tourism and so much more besides. We were tired of the government controlling all the money. When I joined the peaceful protests in 2011 it was because I believe I have a right to have a good life in my own country.
For decades we were so scared. There was no freedom of expression, we used to say the walls have ears. Everyone was a spy and you’d keep hearing that this neighbour or that neighbour was arrested for political reasons. Saying a single word against the Assad regime could result in 20-50 years in prison or being killed. You can’t imagine these conditions.
But in 2011 we realised that people have more power than the government. People were able to break the fear and go into the street even though they knew they might face death in any second.
Most Syrians outside of my city never thought or talked about Raqqa until March 4, 2013, the morning we woke up to be the first liberated city in Syria. After nearly two years of protest and revolt, our people had managed to push the Assad regime forces out the city, and Syrians nicknamed Raqqa the “Capital of Liberation”.
That’s when for the first time in 40 years, civilians were running the city. We had a local and provincial council and dozens of civil society organisations. I was part of the Union of Free Syrian Students and we opened up the university again. Many people who were fleeing persecution from the Assad regime came to Raqqa and were able to have a normal life. Civil society organisations had more power than the armed groups – how it should be.
But then Isis came.
First they came in small numbers, and we demonstrated against them. Then they came with heavy weapons stolen from Iraq and those who were defending Raqqa didn’t have the means to stop them. Our city’s fighters pleaded with the international community for more support but it didn’t come and Isis took over.
But Raqqawis – people from Raqqa – never accepted Isis.
Less than 1% of locals joined Isis. That means that most are against Isis but they can’t show it, they can’t say it, otherwise they’ll be arrested or killed. Our people have been living under Isis for years but just keeping their heads low as civilians. This means no salaries and jobs. If they joined Isis they would get money, cars – even sex – but still Raqqawis refuse. This silent refusal is one of the most important forms of resistance.
In April 2014 along with a few of my friends we set up Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently to counter Isis propaganda.
We began sneaking covert photos and footage out of Raqqa, publishing them on our social media channels, showing that this wasn’t the utopia that Isis claimed. We sprayed anti-Isis slogans on the walls of our town and published our own magazine mocking their propaganda. They hated it and hunted us down.
Many of us escaped Raqqa then but Isis responded by targeting our families. They released a propaganda video of the execution of the father of my friend and RBSS co-founder Hamoud al-Mousa. It’s one of the most brutal things I’ve ever had to watch. But this didn’t stop us. Our anonymous colleagues in Raqqa continue to this day to sneak out footage and information which gets picked up by the biggest networks in the world. Our pictures and video from inside the heart of Isis’s capital have been broadcast by the BBC, CNN and other channels.
But today the threat to my city’s civilians is not just from Isis.
The US and its allies have been begun bombing Raqqa and the surrounding area recklessly. Since the beginning of the year these airstrikes have killed more civilians than Isis. This ‘scorched earth’ policy is because they want to defeat Isis militarily as soon as possible. But they don’t ever think about the day after defeating Isis.
In the coming weeks and months as Isis gets driven out of its territory, people will ask who is taking over. The Kurdish-led forces backed by the West have displaced people and burned homes. It is hard to see them welcomed by locals in and around Raqqa.
And then there are rumours that these areas will be handed over to Assad. This is the worst scenario.
Many would be arrested and killed – it will be a massacre. Worse than that, it will be a step back to the beginning of this mess. Assad created this extremism. Many people were radicalised because of how his regime treated its own people. Every single Syrian has a brother, friend, neighbour or relative killed by Assad.
I have been interrogated many times by Isis, they killed many of my friends and they tried to kidnap me. And yet still I understand that Assad is the main problem in Syria. This is the issue that the world needs to understand.
And yet I am hopeful.
I have an optimism deep inside me more than six years since we first took to the streets. That is because today people are still demanding their rights. I feel hope looking at people in the different cities who are demonstrating every day. Like people in Maaret al-Numan who drove out Al Qaeda with their demonstrations.
That’s why I still have hope. There are still millions who believe in the Revolution. People who are resisting not only Assad, but all groups who are violating our rights. These are things that make me believe that one day we will have democracy and a united country where people can have jobs in a thriving economy.
When people outside the country ask what should be done about Raqqa or Syria, this is what I tell them. Help us to achieve a government that represents all of us, that will help us defeat extremism and permit Raqqawis and other Syrians to return home.
There is no other way.
Aziz (Abdalaziz Alhamza) is one of the co-founders of Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently. In 2015, the Committee to Protect Journalists awarded RBSS its prestigious International Press Freedom Award for their brave reporting.
An incredibly powerful film about RBSS by Oscar-nominated director Matthew Heineman has just been released in cinemas and online. ‘City of Ghosts’ was given 5 stars by The Guardian who said it “could be the definitive Syria documentary”. Please see here for dates of cinema screenings in the US and the UK. The film is available on demand for audiences in the UK and Ireland on iTunes and Curzon Home Cinema. City of Ghosts will also be available in the US and most countries on Amazon Prime from 13th October 2017.
If you would like to send Aziz and the team at RBSS a message of support, please email
July 18th, 2017 – Updates: Documentary about the RBSS Citizen Reporters and fundraising appeal for an Underground Birth Centre
we are contacting you with two separate notifications: 1) Fundraising Appeal for an Underground Birth Centre via the Syria Campaign & 2) Opening night of the Film Documentary “City of Ghosts” at the Irish Film Institute in Dublin.
Thank you for your ongoing support.
Gluaiseacht Dlúthpháirtíochta na hÉireann leis an tSiria
1) Help fund the Avicenna Hospital in Idlib
Can you imagine giving birth underground?
This is the reality for many women in Syria. And while it is something no one should have to endure, giving birth underground in caves and basements is saving the lives of women and their newborn babies.
I have seen this first hand. I am a Syrian doctor, and have witnessed the full range of horrors medics and our patients must endure. Hospitals are systematically attacked from the sky by the Assad regime and Russia. The only thing that has been able to protect our medical staff and patients is going underground – moving our hospitals into caves and fortified basements.
Our hospital will be the largest underground hospital in the province and will offer a full range of health services, including advanced surgeries and maternal health programs. We are creating a training program to provide surgeons and other medical staff with the skills to perform emergency c-sections, to meet this growing need and best serve the women in our community.
But the work is not yet complete. Before we open the doors of the hospital, we need to raise a final $100,000 to finish fortifying it to protect our patients and staff. Please give what you can, this is the most direct way you can save lives in Syria today.
Dr. Khaled Almilaji
Chair, Sustainable International Medical Relief Organization (SIMRO)
Kat Fallon from The Syria Campaign here. Funding for underground and fortified hospitals is the number one demand of doctors and nurses across Syria. Major donor governments like the US, UK, and others, do not currently fund the fortification of hospitals because of bureaucratic regulations around emergency and long-term funding. We recently released a report with 13 leading Syrian medical organizations called Saving Lives Underground: The Case for Fortified Hospitals in Syria pushing these governments to do more. I’ll keep you updated on that progress, but in the meantime let’s support Khaled to finish crowdfunding for this lifesaving hospital. Please donate what you can.
The Syria Campaign is an independent advocacy group campaigning for a peaceful and democratic future for Syria. Our mission is to elevate the voices and demands of Syrian heroes.
Want to know what’s happening in Syria? Start here with these figures telling you who is killing civilians: http://
We take no money from governments to maintain our independence and rely solely on donations from individuals and philanthropic foundations. Donate to The Syria Campaign here.
2) City of Ghosts at the IFI
The highly-acclaimed film documentary “City of Ghosts” is opening in the Irish Film Institute on Friday and runs twice-daily for a week. This film by Matthew Heineman which won this year’s Candescent award at the Sundance Film Festival traces the lives of the astoundingly courageous citizen reporters from the City of Raqqa and highlights the perils that they continue to endure even having fled Syria. Please see details here.
From the IFI:
“Documentarian Matthew Heineman continues to shine a light onto some of the world’s most dangerous places in the extraordinary City of Ghosts.
The film focuses on members of the Syrian citizen journalism group ‘Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently’ (RBSS), who smuggle written, photographic and video evidence of atrocities from the ISIS-controlled city at great risk to their lives and those of their families. Formed during the Arab Spring of 2012, the tech-savvy group continued their covert efforts to show the outside world what was happening in Raqqa as ISIS tanks rolled into the city in July 2014.
A worthy successor to Cartel Land (2015), Heineman’s masterful, Oscar-nominated portrait of Mexican drug cartels, City of Ghosts is an angry, urgent work made with insight and empathy.”
The Guardian ran a review of the film recently.
20th June, 2017 – International Refugee Day
Today, International Refugee Day, the Irish Syria Solidarity Movement is again highlighting the dire situation for civilians that currently prevails in Syria – a situation that is largely going unreported in the media. It is deeply troubling that thousands more Syrians are being forced to flee their homes daily and yet their desperate plight is being ignored by both media and politicians alike. Thousands who have been displaced from Daraa have nowhere to go as borders are closed for them. They are living in terrible and precarious conditions near the Jordanian border.
Given the central role of Iran in pursuing a highly sectarian demographic engineering strategy in Syria as well as the other atrocities it has committed in Syria, we are calling on the incoming Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney to urgently review his predecessor’s clear intention to re-open the Irish Embassy in Tehran. We are asking all our political representatives to support us in this call.
Some Issues for your attention:
“Evacuation Agreements”: Referring to so-called “evacuation agreements” (an Assad regime term for imposed submission deals following relentless bombing and starvation campaigns), Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, Chairperson of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic stated last week at the UN in Geneva : “Since eastern Aleppo city had been evacuated in December 2016, similar agreements had been made in nine other besieged areas: Barzeh, Qaboun, Wadi Barada, al-Waer, Tishreen, Madaya, Zabadani, Foua and Kefraya. As a result, thousands of civilians had been displaced and moved to Idlib and to western and northern Aleppo. The evacuation agreements themselves also raised concerns and in some cases amounted to war crimes: instead of mitigating the impact of the conflict on civilians, they appeared primarily motivated by the strategic considerations of the warring parties that negotiated them. In despair, civilians saw no option but to leave.” http://www.unog.ch/unog/website/news_media.nsf/(httpNewsByYear_en)/2F864C20D57A686AC125813F00484522?OpenDocument
Daraa: In a period of 13 days, as of June 14th, there have been 179 airstrikes and 594 barrel bombs – some of which according to reports contain internationally-prohibited napalm. Scores of civilians have been killed including women and children. All the field hospitals in the area are out of service. Among the targets of Russian/Assad airstrikes were a school and IDP camp.
The Battle for Raqqa: Thousands are being displaced also as a result of the US-led coalition assault against IS. The increasingly indiscriminate use of lethal weapons in densely-populated areas has increased the civilian death toll and has been condemned by Airwars, HRW and other human rights groups: https://twitter.com/hrw/status/874786238225633283
Humanitarian Aid: Given our Famine experience, hunger has a particular resonance here and the Irish government’s main response to the Syrian catastrophe has been the provision of humanitarian aid. However, humanitarian aid is still not getting through to hundreds of thousands of Syrians trapped under starvation sieges and ongoing bombardment by the Assad regime and allies. The Russian-sponsored de-escalation zones were supposed to bring about a breakthrough in the delivery of humanitarian aid. In fact, in those areas more urgently in need of humanitarian assistance, the United Nations has only been permitted one humanitarian delivery by the Assad regime in 2017. “’For the more than 600,000 people who remained trapped in besieged areas, prolonged and deliberate denial of humanitarian aid continued to cause severe shortages of food and basic necessities, while those trapped in sieges imposed by pro-Government forces, also suffered daily airstrikes’ (Pinherio UN Independent Commission)
(UN PANEL OF EXPERTS RE DEPRIVAL FOOD,water ,medical care = a crime agianst humanity
Ken Roth HRW: Humanitarian aid not getting in https://twitter.com/KenRoth/status/875042467476910080
East Ghouta: dire situation as reported by Syria America Medical Society https://foundation.sams-usa.net/campaign/save-east-ghouta/
Iran: The demographic engineering in Syria by Assad & allies in particular Iran has been largely ignored by EU governments and media. Following the fall of Aleppo, Fadel Abdul Ghany, head of the Syrian Network for Human Rights, and Husam Alkatlaby, director of the Violations Documentation Center, met U.N. investigators to press the case for probing crimes committed during the long siege and recapture of rebel-held eastern Aleppo and the “central role” of Iranian-backed militias (http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-aleppo-crimes-idUSKBN14W1MN) Right now in recaptured areas of Aleppo-Iranian backed militia and Assad Shabiha thugs are raping and murdering any civilians they feel like getting rid of with total impunity.
May 31st, 2017 – Meet the Director – The Boy who Started the Syrian War
Award-winning Filmmaker Jamie Doran (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamie_Doran) will be in Dublin to discuss the making and background to this excellent short documentary of his. The film traces the conflict from the original act of innocent insubordination that led to the detention and brutal torture of children by state security services in Daraa in southern Syria. That, in turn, sparked the public outrage that was then was met with an almost unprecedentedly vicious subjugation of the civilian opposition that continues to this day. It’s a rare and authentic glimpse into the genesis of the conflict – a story that is systematically cast into doubt by a Russian-directed narrative on Syria. Please support this event and spread the word.
June 10th, 2pm, The New Theatre, 43, East Essex Street behind Connolly Books – map.
10th May, 2017 – Russia bombing Syrian hospitals – Irish Medical and Rescue Workers plea to Minister Flanagan
A number of members of the Irish Syria Solidarity Movement who also happen to be doctors are looking to launch a short, focussed medic & rescue worker-led campaign to call on Minister Charlie Flanagan to urgently use whatever diplomatic means he has at his disposal to stop the deliberate targetting of hospitals in opposition-controlled areas of Syria by the Assad regime and the Russian military. We are particularly concerned about the targetting of hospitals in the province of Idlib in north-western Syria. This strategy of destroying medical and rescue facilities coupled with the use of intense and indiscriminate attacks on civilians has been employed by the regime and its allies for most of the war in Syria. Syrian government forces have systematically attacked the healthcare system in opposition-held areas of the country since 2011 (1). On 30th September, 2015 Russia launched its own campaign of air strikes against medical facilities but fully backed Assad attacks on hospitals, etc. prior to that – war crimes that have attracted a shockingly muted response from the international community at all levels. It was a strategy that was applied with a vicious ferocity and effectiveness in collaboration with the regime’s Russian ally during the siege of east Aleppo late last year, leading to its fall in December. Following the fall of east Aleppo much of its population and rebel forces were evacuated to Idlib province to the west, which now in turn finds itself the target of an escalating campaign of terror employing similar tactics of deliberately targeting civilians and medical infrastructure.
Throughout the month of April we have witnessed the destruction in Syria of the following hospitals resulting in multiple deaths(2):
- April 2- Maarat Nouman Hospital-Idlib
- April 4 and 16- Mercy Hospital Khan Sheikhoun-Idlib
- April 7 and 8 -Heish Clinic-Idlib
- April 17- Ikhlas Hospital Shnan-Idlib
- April 17- Erbin Hospital Eastern Ghouta
- April 22 -Central Hospital Abdin- Idlib
- April 25- Kafr Takharim Hospital- Idlib
- April 26- Naseeb Hospital -Daraa
- April 26- Al Latamneh Hospital- Hama
- April 27- University Hospital East Deir-Idlib
- April 27- SAMS Ambulance and Evacuation Medical Point Maar Zeta- Idlib
- April 27- Shamuna Ambulance and Evacuation System Maar Zeta-Idlib
- April 28- Women’s Hospital Kafr Takhareem-Northern Idlib
- April 29- Al Nuaymeh Hospital-Daraa
- April 28, 29 Kafr Zeta Specialized Surgical and Maternity Hospital – Hama Suburbs
We have also seen the White Helmets and their infrastructure targetted with the loss of twelve volunteers during that timeframe.
These, coupled with the intensified rocket attacks on civilians – including the use of chemical weapons(3) – who are already crippled by barbaric sieges are a replay of the pattern of violence that was used in eastern Aleppo last year. In this case though, there is nowhere for people to flee. The Geneva Convention, which is all about protecting the vulnerable in a war situation, has been flouted in the most reprehensible way by Putin and his client Assad, yet nothing is done to hold them to account.
5th April, 2017 – Russian Embassy Protest against Hospital Bombing and Gas Attacks
you are doubtless aware of the horrendous escalation of violence against innocent civilians that is now taking place in the province of Idlib in north-west Syria. Idlib city and province have been almost entirely under the control of rebel groups, now including al-Nusra, for almost the entire duration of the war in Syria. As the regime and its allies have been pursuing a campaign of surrender-or-starve sieges in other parts of Syria, the inevitable regime-enforced “Reconciliation” deals entail displacing the recalcitrant families from their homes and sending them to Idlib. As Assad with Russian and Iranian support has been gaining the upper hand in Syria, this pattern has been repeated time and time again – most famously in Aleppo in December 2016.
Now, in the region of Ma’arrat al-Numan in southern Idlib, the Russian and Syrian airforces have teamed up to deliver ever more cruel and heinous ways of attacking their enemies: The aerial bombardment and destruction of hospital facilities by Putin followed a day later with gas attacks by Assad. In yesterday’s gas attack at least 58 people including children were killed. They died fainting, vomiting, foaming at the mouth and choking. There were no proper medical facilities available to treat them.
Once more, the powers that be in the international community are proving unwilling to stop these atrocities. Emboldened by Western indifference and now even the tacit support of the Trump administration, Assad will try to press on with this brutal strategy and the atrocities will intensify until all opposition has been annihilated.
The beleaguered people of Syria desperately need to know that their plight is not being ignored. As the last hope that these people have, we have to make our opposition clear and deliver a strong message to Putin that we will not stand idly by and let this slaughter continue.
Please join us in a demonstration which will start in Rathgar Village and will proceed by foot to the Russian Embassy on Orwell Road. We will meet on Friday 7th April at 6pm at the car park to the side of the large Presbyterian Church (Christ Church) and walk to the Russian Embassy to bring our outrage to their door.
March 15th, 2017 – Dr. Khatib Petition Update – Syria, 6 years on – Are you still watching?
Please see the important update to a long-running petition by the very brave Dr.Hamza Al Khatib via Change.org. If you have not already signed this petition, please sign it and please share it. Please also share the video below.
We hope to see you at the rally on Saturday.
(Original petition here)
Syria, 6 years on – Are you still watching?
15 Mar 2017 — Dear Friends,
Thank you for your kind messages of support. I know it has been some time since we’ve been in touch, but I can tell you now that my family and I made it safely out of Aleppo at the end of December. It was difficult to leave my city, my home, and I waited until I knew my patients would be allowed safe passage across the Syrian government’s siege lines.
I am taking some time to rest and enjoy my family, but I hope to return to Syria next month to keep helping my people.
As some of you may know today marks the 6th anniversary of the Syrian revolution – when Syrian civilians took to the streets to demand their basic rights. The violence that followed has torn my home apart. Aleppo is in ruins, thousands have been killed, and millions of innocent civilians have been forced to flee their homes across the country, escaping a military campaign whose purpose has been to maximize the suffering of the innocent.
Aleppo was not the end. It is no wonder that, despite the supposed ceasefire, schools and hospitals continue to be struck with impunity, while besieged communities face desperate shortages in food, medicine and other essential supplies. War crimes continue in places like Wadi Barada and Al Waer where citizens were forced from their homes after months of siege. In Harasta, civilians continue to be targeted with chemical weapons.
But now is not the moment to look away. The attention of European publics has been essential in preventing even more violent and cruel abuses. Your vigilance is vital still. My friends at the withSyria campaign have made a short video highlighting the defining moments of the past 6 years. I hope you will share “Syria, 6 years on – Are you still watching?” and remind your fellow citizens that their support is still needed, and not to let their leaders look away: http://bit.ly/2mruLNF
March 18th, 2017 – Dublin, March 18th – Rally for 6th Anniversary of Syrian Uprising: The Struggle and the Slaughter Continue
To mark the 6th Anniversary of the beginning of Syrian Civil Uprising, and to highlight the continued slaughter of civilians in Syria we will be holding a rally at the Central Bank Plaza on Dame Street in Dublin at 2pm on March 18th. Please join us there.More than ever, the Syrian Civilian Opposition needs concerned citizens and humanitarians around the world to advocate on their behalf. Despite the “Ceasefire”, regime forces have escalated their campaign of subjugation and Syrian civilians in opposition-held areas have continued to feel the brunt of military offensives against them while innocent civilians in regime-held areas have been killed by indiscriminate retaliatory attacks from rebel-held areas. In February alone, 876 civilians were killed and many more injured, many catastrophically. Civilians in many opposition-held areas are being ‘Aleppoised’ – blanket bombed, infrastructure destroyed, starved and forcibly displaced. With humbling courage, civilian opposition groups in non-regime areas, to this day, go out and protest against the attacks on them by the Regime and Al Qaeda-affiliated groups. Worryingly, the U.S. is ramping up its intervention in Syria and only this week we saw airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition kill 14 civilians, nearly all of them women and children. (fyi, the daily Syria Deeply Executive Summaries are a good source of up-to-date information on what is actually happening on the ground in Syria.)
Meanwhile, tens of thousands of opposition activists are still being detained – and in many cases being starved and tortured to death – in state detention centres such as Saydnaya prison. Hundreds were disappeared after the fall of Aleppo and their whereabouts are unknown. Hundreds of thousands still live under brutal and inhumane sieges. Overwhelmingly, these are imposed by the regime and/or its domestic and foreign militias. Food, fuel, baby formula, medicines and vaccines are blocked, and measles, polio and other childhood diseases are resurgent. Regime-held areas are often now controlled by foreign militias and increasingly powerful and out of control Syrian warlords. (Spiegel Online article).
Many powerful interests are represented at the current round of peace talks in Geneva, but the voice of the Syrian civilian opposition groups is under-represented. The advocacy role on behalf of the Syrian civil society activists that we in Ireland can fulfil is to help them keep their struggle, the continued attempts at their annihilation and their agenda on the table despite the concerted attempts to sideline them by the regime and its backers as well as the militant forces that are being brought centre-stage as part of Russian-led “peace negotiations”.
Finally, all of our efforts at the Irish Syria Solidarity Movement are entirely voluntary. We have expenses for printing of posters/flyers and occasionally the cost of bringing Syrian representatives to Ireland to meet politicians or to speak in Ireland. If you can make a small donation to help fund these expenses of our campaign work, please donate at a specially-created GoFundMe page. The most important way however that you can support this campaign is by supporting events such as this rally next Saturday as well as contacting relevant politicians, embassies, etc. as we have asked you to do in the past and as we will continue to do in the future.
12th March, 2017 – Syria – International Womens Day, Accountability and Rally to mark 6th Anniversary of the Civil Society Uprising
Please see below a bulletin from the Syrian Network for Human Rights to mark International Womens Day yesterday which seeks to highlight the role of women in the popular uprising in Syria and the overwhelming responsibility of the regime for female casualties to date in the war in Syria (91%). They call for pressure to ensure the revealing of the fate of no less than 7571 women and girls who are still under arrest or are forcibly-disappeared at the hands of the parties to the conflict in Syria from March 2011 up to February 2017. Again, with nearly 6200 of the total, the regime is disproportionately represented.
Also, we previously mentioned the excellent Expert Panel discussion titled “How to do Justice? Accountability for Mass Atrocities in Syria”. We said that we would let you know if/when that discussion would be made available online. It has been made available here.
Finally, to mark the 6th Anniversary of the beginning of the Syrian Uprising, rallies will be held in London, Paris and elsewhere. We will be holding a rally in Dublin on 18th March at 2pm at the Central Bank Plaza on Dame Street. It is the oxygen of international solidarity that keeps the Civilian Opposition alive in Syria. Please make time to join us and show them and the world that “Might is not right” and that freedom-loving people everywhere deserve to be supported, especially in the face of brutal repression. More details to follow on this event.
March 3rd, 2017 – Forwarded report from Syrian Network for Human Rights and request to contact MEPs
please see below the latest report from the Syrian Network for Human Rights which catalogs a large number of ceasefire violations (88% of which by Russian/Regime forces) and casualties as a result of those violations.
We would also like to bring to your attention a very important live-stream panel discussion that took place yesterday. It was jointly hosted by the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights & the Heinrich-Böll-Foundation to discuss efforts currently underway to use the principle of Universal Jurisdiction as a tool for third states to prosecute Syrian perpetrators of Human Rights abuses domestically. Prosecutors in Germany and other EU countries are currently monitoring, investigating and prosecuting human rights related crimes in Syria.
Hopefully this broadcast will be made available publicly online and we will let you know if and when that happens. The holding to account of perpetrators of human rights abuses is not just a crucial matter of justice for the people of Syria – it also serves as a deterrent to others. As we have seen, for example in Saydnaya prison, human rights abuses continue to be widespread in Syria. Please encourage your local MEP to support the use of the principle of Universal Jurisdiction as a tool for third states to prosecute Syrian perpetrators of Human Rights abuses.
No less than 55 Major Violations in the First Week of Geneva Talks’ Fourth Round – Syrian Network For Human Rights
SNHR has released a report, in which the Network documents 55 major violations at least that were perpetrated by the parties to the conflict in Syria in the first week of round 4 of Geneva Talks, where 88% of the violations were at the hands of the Syrian-Russian regime.
The report notes that many acts of unlawful killing and bombardment operations were recorded even though Ankara Ceasefire Agreement has been in force since December 30, 2016, as the massacre rates have increased, and civilians and vital civil facilities are being targeted more heavily following the commencement of Geneva Talks.
The report also says that the detainees issue has yet to see any progress even though it was addressed in U.N. Resolution 2254 that emphasizes that all detainees, particularly children and women, must be released immediately. Furthermore, the report didn’t monitor any changes in the rates of arbitrary arrests in the areas under the control of the Syrian regime. Additionally, SNHR hasn’t recorded -according to the report- any unconditional releases by the Syrian regime from its detention centers, where such releases were part of prisoner exchange deals the regime struck with armed opposition, or by releasing detainees who are under the jurisdiction of the terrorism court after paying a cash bail, where the detainee remains on trial.
The report says that the death toll of the combat operations that were conducted in the period of time covered by the report has amounted to 413 individuals who are divided into 282 civilians, including 54 children and 35 women, and 131 armed opposition fighters. The Syrian regime killed 141 individuals – 99 civilians, including 24 children and 14 women, and 42 armed opposition fighters, while Russian forces killed 23 civilians including four children and nine women. In addition, 74 civilians were arrested.
The report adds that the Syrian regime forces and pro-regime militias are still denying the aids access to the besieged areas, where these militias detained, on Monday, February 20,2017, a number of trucks that were part of an aid convoy heading to Al Wa’er neighborhood in Homs city for a few hours, before the convoy returned without entering the neighborhood. This, certainly, doesn’t mean that the rest of the areas are in a better situation, as the aids are barely sufficient and, more importantly, the siege must be completely lifted -in accordance with the international humanitarian law and Security Council Resolutions- in all areas. The Syrian government is still demanding that the UN, the UN’s executive partners, or any relief organization have to ask for its permission before entering the besieged areas. However, the Syrian government, usually, denies permissions after an agonizingly and deliberately complicated procedures instead of facilitating access for aids.
The report documents no less than 55 violations that include combat and arrest operations during the first week of round 4 of Geneva Talks, taking place in February 20-27, 2017, including 42 violations at the hands of the Syrian regime forces, 4 by Russian forces, 1 by Self-management forces, 2 by armed opposition factions, and 3 by the international coalition forces in addition to 1 violation by other parties.
The report breaks down the types of violations that occurred, where 41 violations were through combat operations: 31 by Syrian regime forces, 4 by Russian forces, while 14 violations were through arrests including 13 at the hands of the Syrian regime forces alone.
The report calls on the United Nation to form a committee on the ground to monitor the violations of the ceasefire, identify their perpetrators, in cooperation and coordination with active local human rights organizations, and enforce sanctions and consequences that would deter the violators of the ceasefire agreement in order to preserve the continuity of the agreement, and save it from falling apart. Additionally, detainees must be released, and their fates must be revealed, and aids must be delivered to besieged areas.
Lastly, the report emphasizes that the international community has to link the ceasefire agreement with launching a political process that aims towards a transitional phase, resulting in a democratic regime, which will be an actual and real end for all the suffering of the Syrian people.
February 22nd, 2017 – Urgent Online Petition Appeal – Keep Detainees on Agenda at Geneva Talks
please lend your support to this urgent appeal that has come via the Syria Campaign.
Thanks and in solidarity,
My name is Fadwa Mahmoud, a longtime activist and prison survivor. I’m here in Geneva with four other women united by the cause of Syria’s detained and disappeared. The Syria peace talks begin in this city tomorrow yet we are outraged the issue of the more than 100,000 people facing torture in the country’s jails is not even on the agenda.
Tomorrow at 1pm, our group “Families for Freedom”, will be outside the peace talks to lead a moment of silence in love and solidarity with all of Syria’s detained and disappeared sons and daughters. We have asked the negotiating parties to pause the talks and come down and join us. With pressure from you on governments attending we stand a much better chance of keeping this issue alive.
My son Maher and my husband Abdelaziz were disappeared three years ago in Syria. My husband, an activist, had returned from a trip to China and my son Maher went to pick him up from the airport. I was on the phone to Maher and he said “We’re in the car and we’re heading back home now”. Five minutes later I called back. It was a mother’s instinct and I felt something had happened. Their lines were out of service. That was the last I ever heard of Maher or Abdelaziz.
Our loved ones were taken away for protesting, for delivering baby milk or for urging others to remain peaceful. Some were taken for no reason at all. Inside prison, they are tortured and sometimes executed. I would know – I was imprisoned by the Syrian regime myself for years when my children were still young.
As the families of Syrian detainees, we have been intimidated and told by men with arms and politicians not to speak up. But we will not be silent. We want to move people around the world to join our cause and bring every Syrian unjustly detained home.
Please stand with us.
Bissan from The Syria Campaign here, if you’d like to send Fadwa and the rest of the Families of Freedom a message of support, please just reply to this email and we’ll make sure they get it.
17th February, 2017 – Astana vs. Reality – distressing content
without fear of exaggeration, you might never see such harrowing and distressing scenes as in this short clip of the real aftermath of a barrel bomb attack in the Idlib province of Syria where the Assad regime and its allies continue to target Syrian civilians despite the much-vaunted ceasefire talks taking place in Astana, sponsored by Russia.
As well as ongoing regime offensives elsewhere in the country, Russian aircraft have been pounding rebel positions in Deraa (also Daraa) in southern Syria, which was the scene of the first demonstrations against the Assad regime in March 2011. The rebels and the people of Deraa are featured in this recent Al Jazeera documentary produced by Scottish/Irish film maker Jamie Doran – “The Boy who started the Syrian War“. The film provides great insights into the beginnings of this terrible conflict and how the people in Deraa have had to cope since it began.
Please continue to pressurise the Russian and Iranian governments via their Dublin embassies to end their brutal campaigns in Syria. They can only achieve their strategic objectives with the tacit acceptance of the West. We all need to redouble our efforts in the face of such brutal atrocities amidst relative media silence. Please help with this and keep the pressure on Minister Charlie Flanagan and your local T.D.s
8th February, 2017 – Saydnaya Human Slaughterhouse
We are again appealing to you to support an Amnesty International Campaign. Yesterday, Amnesty released a meticulously researched but highly disturbing report. This report documents the systematic execution by hanging of thousands of civilian opposition activists as well as the surreptitious disposal of their bodies at the notorious Saydnaya Military prison of the Syrian Regime.
You may recall that in December last year, the ISSM protested that a pro-regime delegation was being allowed to make a presentation before the Oireachtas Joint Foreign Affairs Committee, thereby granting undeserved legitimacy to a vile tyrant. This “peace” delegation was calling on the Irish Government to help them overturn EU-imposed sanctions against the Assad regime. The delegation included one Badreddin Hassoun, the Grand Mufti of Syria. We were able to help show that Hassoun was anything but a peace-maker and the visit was ultimately shown to be just the macabre facade of a disgraced regime that it was. Hassoun also features in this report from Amnesty.The report, titled “HUMAN SLAUGHTERHOUSE – Mass Hangings and Extermination at Saydnaya Prison, Syria“, explicitly points to the ongoing role that the Grand Mufti Badreddin Hassoun plays in a sham judicial process: “…This judgement is signed by the head of the Military Field Court and a representative of the security forces, usually from Military Intelligence. The judge who tried the detainee at the Military Field Court, referred to as the Military Prosecutor, also signs and then approves this sentence. The judgement is sent by military post to the Grand Mufti of Syria and to either the Minister of Defence or the Chief of Staff of the Army, who are deputized to sign for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and who specify the date of the execution… ”
In its coverage of the Amnesty report, the respected Middle East Eye, makes reference to Hassoun’s visit to Dublin: “Syria’s grand mufti, who toured Europe last year and addressed Irish MPs, has been exposed as one of three men who signed execution orders for thousands of political prisoners in a Syrian jail, a human rights investigation has said.”
It is to Ireland’s shame that we are being associated with this dreadful individual but that cannot be undone now.
We would encourage you to please take the time to read the report. You have to read it to believe it. It gives a very clear account of what has happened to and what is in store for anyone who dares, even peacefully, to oppose the brutal Assad regime. As we know, this self-delegitimised regime survives only with the despicable support of Russia and Iran. Our continued trade and diplomatic engagement with those countries must surely be a matter of grave public concern.
Please support the Amnesty campaign to End the Horror in Syrian Prisons
For an interesting virtual reconstruction of Saydnaya Prison, undertaken by Amnesty International last year, please see here.
Yours in solidarity,
Gluaiseacht Dlúthpháirtíochta na hÉireann leis an tSiria
31st January, 2017 – Trump U.S. Immigration Edict and missing White Helmet worker Abdulhadi Kamel
please see the URGENT ACTION appeal from Amnesty International below. Apart from the immediate human need, this story exemplifies the callous and brutal methods of the Assad forces and its accomplices.
Please contact the Russian and Iranian ambassadors to Ireland and demand that they use their very good offices with the Assad regime:
- Urging the Syrian authorities to immediately disclose the fate and whereabouts of Abdulhadi Kamel;
- Calling on them to release him immediately, unless he is to be charged with a recognizable offence, in line with international law and standards;
- Urging them to ensure that pending his release, he is protected from torture and any other ill-treatment, granted access to his families and lawyers, and any medical treatment he may require.
Man Missing During East Aleppo Evacuation
The fate and whereabouts of Abdulhadi Kamel remain unknown. He was last seen being driven away in an ambulance on 16 December 2016 after being injured by Syrian government forces who intercepted the evacuation convoy in which he was leaving east Aleppo.
Abdulhadi Kamel, 26, went missing in western Aleppo on 16 December 2016, during the evacuation of civilians from eastern Aleppo. A close relative was in the convoy with Abdulhadi Kamel when Syrian government forces stopped the car and asked the men to step out. Government forces then began to fire shots into the air, resulting in Abdulhadi Kamel and others being injured by stray bullets. According to the relative, an ambulance took the injured, including Abdulhadi Kamel, to a hospital at an unknown location. Abdulhadi remains missing.
On 5 January, Abdulhadi Kamel appeared in a video filmed in an unknown location and posted on YouTube by ANNA news, an Abkhazian news agency. In the video Abdulhadi Kamel is seen confessing to working as a volunteer with The White Helmets (also known as the Syria Civil Defence), which he claimed is a fake rescue organization. Abdulhadi Kamel’s family believe his confession to be forced as there was no evidence to link him to The White Helmets; he was not wearing, nor in possession of, their uniform nor anything else that would tie him to them.
Please write immediately in Arabic, English or your own language:
- Urging the Syrian authorities to immediately disclose the fate and whereabouts of Abdulhadi Kamel;
- Calling on them to release him immediately, unless he is to be charged with a recognizable offence, in line with international law and standards;
- Urging them to ensure that, pending his release, he is protected from torture and any other ill-treatment, granted access to his families and lawyers, and any medical treatment he may require.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 3 MARCH 2017 TO:
Permanent Representative to the UN
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
820 Second Avenue, 15th Floor
New York, NY 10017, USA
Fax: +1 212 983 4439
Salutation: Your Excellency
Fax: +963 11 332 3410 (keep trying)
(If fax does not go through, please include your message to the president in an email to the Ambassador, asking for it to be forwarded)
Salutation: Your Excellency
And copies to:
Minister of Defence
General Fahd Jassem al-Freij
Fax: +963 11 223 7842 (keep trying)
+963 11 666 2460 (keep trying)
(If fax does not go through, please include your message to the Minister of Defence in an email to the Ambassador, asking for it to be forwarded)
Salutation: Your Excellency
20th January, 2017 – Syrian Network for Human Right Annual Report 2016
we would like to bring to your attention the excellent Yearly Report for 2016 from Syrian Network For Human Rights. Please see summary below and the full report here.
We would also like to remind you of the Demonstration of Solidarity with the Syrian Civil Opposition taking place on Saturday 21st January at 2pm in Dublin (top of Grafton Street). Please see details here.
Yours in Solidarity.
The Yearly Report for 2016 – Syrian Network For Human Rights
SNHR has published report in which the Networks monitors the most notable violation of human rights by the parties to the conflict in Syria in 2016.
The report documents the killing of 8736 civilians, including 1984 children, 1237 women, and 447 due to torture, at the hands of the Syrian regime forces, where the percentage of women and children victims amounts to 37% which is an explicit indicator on the deliberate targeting of civilians by the Syrian regime forces in indiscriminate shelling and execution operations. Also, the report documents that Syrian regime forces arrested 7543 detainees including 251 children and 448 women.
The report notes that Russian forces perpetrated many massacres, where SNHR documented the killing of 3967 civilians including 1042 children and 684 women by Russian forces.
Furthermore, the report says that Kurdish Self-management forces committed many violations in their areas of control including extrajudicial killing, arrest, torture, and conscription. Kurdish Self-management forces killed 146 civilians including 24 children and 23 women. Additionally, Kurdish Self-management forces arrested 673 individuals including 55 children and 33 women, where many of those detainees experienced extremely poor and degrading detention conditions that resulted in the death of six individuals.
The report records the death toll by Extremist Islamic groups, as ISIS killed 1510 civilians in 2016 including 258 children and 213 women in executions, indiscriminate shelling, or torture, while the group arrested no less than 1419 individuals including 103 children and 50 women. Among the victims were eight who died due to torture.
According to the report Fateh Al Sham (Formerly Al Nussra Front) killed 18 civilians including one woman, while the group arrested no less than 234 individuals including 16 children. Four individuals died due to torture.
The report outlines the violations by armed opposition factions who killed 1048 civilians including 289 children and 210 women, where most of the victims were killed in indiscriminate shelling operations that targeted Aleppo and Damascus neighborhoods. The number of people arrested by armed opposition factions is 178 individuals including six children and two women. Also, the report records that 10 individuals died due to torture.
According to the report, international coalition forces killed no less than 537 civilians including 158 children and 98 women in their airstrikes on Aleppo, Al Raqqa, and Deir Ez-Zour.
The report says that 112 medical personnel were killed in 2016 including 40 by Syrian regime forces, while 86 media activists were killed including 52 who were killed by Syrian regime forces and their ally Russia.
The report documents the use of chemical weapons which were used in 15 attacks – 14 by Syrian regime forces and one by ISIS. In contrast, there were 171 documented cluster attacks – 148 by Russian forces and 22 by Syrian regime forces.
The report calls on the United Nations to find the proper ways to protect the civilians from the daily and frequent violations regardless of the perpetrator party, and mainly the Syrian regime forces’ violations seeing that the regime perpetrated more than 92% of the total violations followed by the Extremist Islamic groups.
Moreover, the report calls on the Security Council to implement the Resolutions it adopted on Syria including the statement of Geneva I, as preserving civil peace and security is the Council’s direct responsibility. In addition, the report emphasizes that all necessary measures must be executed to protect the civilians in Syria, end the siege on the besieged areas, release all political detainees, end the use of chemical weapons. All of these goals were included in special Resolutions on Syria. The execution, however, hasn’t changed in reality before and after these Resolutions were adopted, and the violations’ rate has been nearly the same since March 2011.
Lastly, the report urges the states of the world to support the Syrian people in the extraordinary, on all levels, tragedy they are experiencing, and to apply pressure in the Security Council in order to take urgent action to save what can be saved, and refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court now and not after the conflict ends.
January 16th, 2017 – Demonstration of Solidarity with the Syrian Civil Opposition
18th December, 2016 – Public Pressure on Iran over Aleppo and Syria
Public Pressure on Iran over Aleppo and Syria
15th December, 2016 – URGENT action on Aleppo: Please contact the Iranian Embassy in Dublin
13th December, 2017 – Aleppo Crisis – Russian Embassy Demo and Safe Passage from Syria Campaign
in light of the absolutely catastrophic situation in Aleppo, we are asking you to please join us for a protest demonstration at the Russian Embassy on Orwell Road in Dublin tomorrow, Wednesday 14th December at 5pm.
In the meantime, please see and support the request via the Syrian Campaign from Syria Civil Defence (The White Helmets), Kesh Malek, Independent Doctors Association, and Syrian American Medical Society below.
Please also forward this request on to anyone who you think may be interested.
|URGENT: Hundreds of our humanitarian friends and colleagues are facing summary execution, disappearance, and torture right at this moment in besieged Aleppo and we need to take urgent action to secure safe passage for them and the remaining 100,000 civilians.
This is the call that teachers, medical workers, and the White Helmets put out yesterday to the international community to implement the UNÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s evacuation plan. We have almost no time so please act immediately and call the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Russian Embassy in Dublin (numbers below) to demand safe evacuation for people trapped in besieged Aleppo.
Please email us back and let us know what they say. Thank you.
The Syria Campaign
The bombs are falling as we write this. For years our humanitarian volunteers have worked to save the lives of our people in Aleppo: operating in underground hospitals, rescuing entire families buried under the rubble and risking our lives to document what the daily war crimes committed by Assad regime and its ally Russia. We can do no more.
Now we are with 100,000 civilians trapped in an area of five square kilometres with non-stop bombs, shells and advancements on the ground. In one building more than 500 people are sheltering. People have been underground for days.
We are calling on the international community to provide a safe passage out of Aleppo for the remaining 100,000 people. We know that the UN has a plan to get us out across the four kilometres of Western Aleppo to safety: with a few dozen buses and lorries we could all be evacuated in twenty four hours. However, we need the international community to guarantee the safety of their workers and our own.
CALL THE DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND THE RUSSIAN EMBASSY RIGHT NOW TO DEMAND SAFE PASSAGE.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs: + 353 (0) 1 408 2000 and Russian Embassy: +353 (0) 1 492 2048
If we stay we fear for our lives. The women may be taken to camps, the men disappeared and anyone who is known to have supported civilians will face detention or execution. WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve watched thousands of our boys and mens be detained. Countless White Helmets, doctors, nurses and humanitarians have been targeted and killed in the regimeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s cruel assault on Aleppo. The regime has been trying to kill us for five years. Please donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t give them this chance.
We can not believe that the worldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s most powerful countries cannot get 100,000 souls four kilometers to safety.
CALL THE DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND THE RUSSIAN EMBASSY RIGHT NOW TO DEMAND SAFE PASSAGE.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs: + 353 (0) 1 408 2000 and Russian Embassy: +353 (0) 1 492 2048
Syria Civil Defence (The White Helmets), Kesh Malek, Independent Doctors Association, and Syrian American Medical Society
10th December, 2017 – Invitation to Claire Byrne Live programme Monday 12th December
Please see the invitation below which has been sent through to the Irish Syria Solidarity Movement from the Claire Byrne Live programme on RTÉ television. The invitation relates to a live broadcast on Monday evening which is intended to tie in with a preceding documentary on the Irish Navy’s refugee rescue operation in the Mediterranean Sea and will pose the question “Is Ireland doing enough in response?”
Syrian people make up the majority of the refugees crossing and dying in the Mediterranean and Aegean seas. The position of the Irish Syria Solidarity Movement is that while there is a huge popular sympathy in Ireland for the plight of the Syrians, the Irish government is failing in its obligations. The Irish government has, to its credit, provided the services of the brave men and women of the Irish Navy to assist refugees in trouble while in transit at sea. It provides vital financial support to Aid Organisations operating in refugee camps outside of Syria. Also, on Friday 9th December, it supported a successful United General Assembly Resolution that “expressed outrage at the recent escalation of violence, particularly in Aleppo, and demanded an immediate and complete end to all attacks on civilians and civilian objects and to all sieges throughout the country.”1
In the areas where the government is weak, it is failing a) to provide adequate resources to protect refugees at other stages of their treacherous journeys or to provide help to those on overland routes, b) to provide adequate resources to ensure their welfare when they arrive in Ireland, c) to ensure that people who are trying to survive in Syria are in receipt of humanitarian assistance, despite being blocked by the Assad regime and its allies and d) to take steps to isolate and punish the main perpetrators (in terms of numbers of victims) of violence in Syria, these being overwhelmingly the Assad Regime and its backers Russia and Iran.
Additionally, the many established Syrians living in Ireland are in a good position, with the support of the State, to at least help their family members escape what is the most of appalling suffering facing humans anywhere today. The state really needs to get behind this Family Reunification option for helping Syrians.
Members of the Irish Syria Solidarity Movement will be attending the Claire Byrne Live show to advocate for more action from the Irish government in those areas where it is weak and we would be very grateful for your support there. For too long, the main current affairs programs on Irish radio and television have minimised the atrocities that have been visited upon Syrians and have not fulfilled their public service broadcasting obligations by providing adequate airtime for comprehensive analysis on the causes of the crisis. This might be a small opportunity to help correct the record.
1. General Assembly Demands Immediate End to Hostilities in Syria, as Speakers Decry Security Council’s Continuing Impotence
============ Forwarded message ============
From : clairebyrnelive <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To : “email@example.com”<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date : Fri, 09 Dec 2016 18:22:00 +0000
Subject : Claire Byrne Live Invitation – RTÉ
============ Forwarded message ============
How are you?
Warren Swords, here from Claire Byrne Live in RTÉ.
On Monday’s show we are doing an item on about Ireland’s response to the Mediterranean refugee crisis and the issue of immigration.
I was wondering would people at the IRish Syria Solidarity Movement be interesting in coming along to the show and being in our audience?
RTÉ is broadcasting a special documentary on the Irish Navy’s work in the Mediterranean on Monday night.
Following the documentary, we will be asking if Ireland is doing enough in response.
Perhaps you could extend our invitation to your members and contacts?
Those interested in attending would need to be in RTÉ for 9.30pm this Monday night and the progamme is live from 10.35pm – 11.30pm with a reception before and a drinks reception afterwards.
People are under no obligation to participate but are free to raise their hand if they are interested. As it is a live show, we can’t guarantee speaking time.
If someone could come back to me and let me know if there is an interest that would be great.
Feel free to forward this invitation on to anyone you feel may be interested.
Claire Byrne Live
01 208 3494
December 6th, 2016 – White Helmets donation Thank You
this is just a courtesy email to say thank you so much for your coming to the Burning Country book launch at Books Upstairs last week. We hope you found it a rewarding experience.
As we stated at the meeting, we really need your support to help build an international movement that will serve to protect the vulnerable civilians of Syria now that the domestic organised civilian opposition is on the verge of being crushed. It’s only through force of numbers that we can have any effect.
The Irish Syria Solidarity Movement is works closely with Syria Solidarity UK, The Syria Campaign, etc. and there are now efforts underway to network local groups across Europe. Perhaps in that way we can exert enough pressure to provide the protection that Syrian civilians will need to protect them from the worst excesses of the Assad regime.
If you can help in the work, please get in touch at email@example.com and leave your contact details so that we can get in touch.
Please note that €274 was donated on the evening of the book launch for the White Helmets and that sum has since been boosted by subsequent donations to make it >€300. Please see thank you letter below. The online donations page for the White Helmets is https://peoplesmillion.whitehelmets.org/act/peoples-million for anyone who is interested.
Thank you and kind regards,
Gluaiseacht Dlúthpháirtíochta na hÉireann leis an tSiria
Thank you so much for donating to the White Helmets People’s Million. Every cent you gave will go towards helping these heroes. It will help replace rescue equipment lost in the bombing, like ambulances and diggers, and get wounded rescue workers back on their feet by paying for hospital stays and prosthetic limbs and medicine.
Here are the details of your donation:
Campaign: White Helmets People’s MillionDate: December 4, 2016Amount: $320.00
Do you have friends or family that could donate too? Please share the campaign on Facebook and Twitter:Thank you again,
P.S. Donated through Paypal? You’ll see ‘The Voices Project’ on your receipt. That’s the legal name of The Syria Campaign in the UK, where it’s a registered non-profit (in case you’re wondering you can’t be a charity if most of your work is advocacy).
6th December, 2017 – December 9th 6pm Vigil for Douma 4, Amnesty Candle, Memorial Road, Dublin 1
Please stand with us at a vigil in memory of the Douma 4 – Extraordinary people and victims of the conflict in Syria. This, our 3rd Dublin vigil for these heroic people will be held at 6pm on Friday December 9th at the Amnesty Candle Monument beside Busáras in Dublin.
The so-called Douma 4 iconically represent the heights of the civil society uprising in Syria but their fate is also reflective of the depths of the ongoing crushing of a movement that once held so much hope and promise.
This extraordinary group of human rights activists was abducted on December 9th in 2013, allegedly by Jaish al-‘Islam, and have not been seen or heard of since. Jaish al-‘Islam is a militia that was under the control of Zahran Alloush, who has himself since been killed. Alloush was one of the approximately 1,500 jihadists that Assad released from his jails in 2011 to “poison” the revolution and legitimise his murderous and violent campaign of suppression against civilian opposition.
Our solidarity with the civilian opposition can not end with the crushing of the organised opposition forces in Aleppo and elsewhere in Syria. Our political leaders and so-called international diplomacy have yet again crumbled in the face over overwhelming violence and military force. Assad still has many tens of thousands of innocent people, including minors, detained in wretched conditions in detention centres and there are now countless thousands of people – again including children – displaced in Syria and facing a bleak and uncertain future. They will all be at the mercy of the Assad regime and its Russian and Iranian allies and desperately need our support and solidarity.
26th November, 2016 – SN4HR report – 23,863 Children Killed in Syria since March 2011 The Bleeding Innocence
15th November, 2016 – Irish Book Launch – Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War
4th November, 2016 – Next wave of destruction
This weekend, residents in eastern Aleppo are bracing themselves for the resumption of the brutal aerial onslaught by the Assad regime and its Russians allies that has already caused so much carnage there. The recent Dáil “debate” on Aleppo in front of a largely empty house demonstrated how far behind the curve our politicians are on the Syrian crisis. Only public pressure will move them to finally take the decisive action necessary that will persuade Russia and Iran that they cannot continue their murderous support of the Assad regime with impunity.
With the familiar cynical and duplicitous style that has characterised the Russian and regime campaign, they began dumping leaflets on the residents of eastern Aleppo last week with this message:
“If you do not leave these areas urgently, you will be annihilated. You know that everyone has given up on you. They left you alone to face your doom and nobody will give you any help.”
Please join us at 2pm on Saturday 5th November outside the Russian Embassy on Orwell Road to let Aleppans know that we have not left them alone. Without international solidarity, against the cowardly cruelty of Putin’s aerial bombardments, they really are doomed.
15th October, 2016 – Urgent Message from Ireland to Putin via FC Zenit in Tallaght Stadium – 6pm on Thursday 20th October
7th October, 2017 – Saturday 8th October demo US Embassy
Saturday 8th October 2pm
Eastern Aleppo and other parts of Syria are under continued attack by the despotic Assad regime and the combined military forces of Russia and Iran.
The decades-old disasterous and hugely destructive military adventures of the U.S. in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as lending massive military support to the regional destabilising forces of Israel, Saudi Arabia and Egypt has robbed it and it’s allies of any credibility in the region.
In 2005, with the humanitarian disasters such as Rwanda and Srebrenica still raw, ALL U.N. member states signed up to a doctrine called Responsibility to Protect (R2P). Unfortunately, despite R2P, the U.N. has again proven itself incapable of protecting civilians in Syria today – just as it failed in Rwanda and Srebrenica.
We are calling on the U.S. to remember the outrage and shame that inspired the R2P doctrine and respond immediately according to it’s provisions – even without the impossible hurdle of a Security Council resolution – to defend the innocent civilians of Aleppo and other parts of Syria being targeted by the Assad regime and its accomplices. The U.S. and it’s military allies have a lot to answer for in the middle east. Now is the time to begin to make amends.
We are calling for credible and actionable threats of specific & targetted retaliation by the U.S. and it’s allies
against any military force that is deliberately targetting civilians in Syria.
Please join us outside the U.S. Embassy, 42 Elgin Road, Ballsbridge at 2pm on Saturday, 8th October to demonstrate the sense of urgency that we in Ireland feel for the U.S. and it’s allies to live up to it’s Responsibility to Protect in Syria.
4th October, 2016 – Please Support these three initiatives for Syria