The Syrian community in Liverpool organised, at very short notice, a moving demonstration in support of their compatriots and, in some cases, former neighbours caught up in the siege of Eastern Ghouta. This was in response to the escalation of the attacks by Syrian government forces and Russian warplanes on Sunday 19 February. Hundreds of people including women and children were killed in the space of a few days.
I spoke to people at the gathering who were waiting for news of loved-ones and others who had already been told the worst about family and friends. The dignity of all present was very striking. It was also interesting to note that there was no collection of money at the event. The main aims were to raise awareness of the situation and seek support for the victims.
The day before the demonstration, the UN passed a resolution (with the support of Russia) for a 30 day ceasefire. However, on the day of the demonstration government forces were still attacking Eastern Ghouta. The situation remains desperate with an estimated 1,500 people killed since February. It is estimated that the conflict in Syria has killed more than 350,000 people and displaced more than 11 million others. A very small but important number of these are now settled in our region.
If you are interested in supporting the refugees based in our area, please see our volunteering page for more information.