Demonstrators rally to protest Aleppo carnage
Assembly to debate Aleppo on Dec 28
Around 2,400 Kuwaitis protested outside the Russian embassy yesterday to condemn Moscow’s support for the Syrian regime besieging rebel-held Aleppo. Carrying banners saying “Stop crimes” and “Save Aleppo”, the demonstrators marched on the diplomatic compound in Daiya housing the embassy. The crowds gathered yesterday were drawn from various backgrounds, and included both liberals and Islamists.
MP Jamaan Al-Harbash demanded to sever ties with Russia because of its support for Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. He also called for Kuwait to allow more Syrians into the country, saying “we have to support our fellow Arab brothers and sisters against the attacks and crimes by the Syrian regime and its allies”.
Kuwait is home to more than 130,000 Syrian nationals, according to government statistics released in 2014. Kuwait was one of the first Gulf countries to sever ties with Syria and pledge support to the rebels seeking to topple Assad. “Today, the Syrian people are at war with Russia... dead bodies are in the streets of Aleppo,” Harbash told the crowd. “We call on Turkey and the Gulf states to expel Russian envoys and sever diplomatic ties with Moscow,” he added.
“Our Assembly was the first Arab and Islamic parliament to hold a special session to discuss the situation in Syria. The Arab nations should unify to bring about practical solutions. Residents of Aleppo have sent their last messages from there, but we say the messages
will not end, with our strong will. We call upon the government to allow Syrians who live in Kuwait to bring their relatives on visit visas to Kuwait. We want to host them and open the country to welcome them,” MP Abdullah Al-Anezi said.
Head of the Ummah Party Hakim Al-Mutairi called for jihad in Syria. “Jihad is a religious duty of every Muslim. Those who can’t do so due to a legitimate excuse should send money. The 22 Arab countries have an army of more than five million soldiers - why don’t they defend the people in Syria? I call upon clerics and preachers to make statements to encourage Muslims to go for jihad in Syria,” he thundered.
Speakers also condemned Iran and Shiite militias, accusing them of indiscriminate killings of civilians in Aleppo. MP Thamer Al-Suwait called the war in Syria a “genocide”. Former lawmaker Ahmad Al-Shuhoumi condemned what he labeled “a dirty sectarian war led by Iran against Sunni Muslims”.
“We demand that humanitarian organizations take immediate action against the genocide taking place in Aleppo. We know that many of humanitarian and charity organizations were not able to reach the areas in crisis and help the people in need. We shouldn’t keep silent, and the Arab countries should unify to financially help the people of Aleppo,” MP Al-Humaidi Al-Subaei said.
Kuwaiti charities and the Kuwait Red Crescent Society have launched fundraising campaigns for victims of the fighting. Protesters also carried pictures of Syrian children and posters of Assad with a swastika. They then marched towards the fence of the diplomatic compound, shouting: “The people want the expulsion of the ambassador”. Police watched the demonstration closely, but it ended peacefully. A policeman told Kuwait Times, on the condition of anonymity, that the number of protesters was between 2,200 to 2,400. He said some speeches violated the national unity law, and some placards that were sectarian in nature were confiscated.
National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem said yesterday the Assembly will debate the situation in Aleppo on Dec 28 after several MPs demanded a special session to debate the issue. Ghanem also said that he has written to the heads of Arab and international parliaments to urge them to increase pressure to stop the war against civilians in Aleppo. Kuwait has also called on the Arab League to hold an emergency meeting Monday to discuss Aleppo.
KUWAIT: Protesters hold placards during a demonstration yesterday outside the Russian Embassy to condemn Moscow’s support for the Syrian regime besieging rebel-held Aleppo. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat (See Page 2)