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From Aleppo's ruins, Syrians deliver rubble and show film in British parliament

by Adela Suliman | @adela_suliman | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Monday, 27 November 2017 17:22 GMT

Children inspect rubble of damaged buildings in a rebel-held besieged area in Aleppo, Syria November 6, 2016. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail

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"What has been allowed to happen there is a stain on our generation"

By Adela Suliman

LONDON, Nov 27 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A group of Syrians will deliver rubble from war-torn Aleppo to Britain's parliament on Monday and screen a film highlighting the bravery of rescue volunteers, as part of a campaign demanding more robust efforts to end the conflict in Syria.

High-profile British politicians, including the foreign, defence and international development ministers, will receive a piece of rubble direct from the devastated city, which last year saw the end of months of bitter siege and bombardment as insurgents agreed to withdraw in a ceasefire.

The Syrian campaigners will also screen the award-winning film "Last Men in Aleppo" which depicts search-and-rescue volunteers known as the White Helmets who organised locally to save the lives of their families and neighbours.

"We tried to bring this to parliament to show them that this is a result of the war, if you can't see it, you have to touch it in your hand," the film's director, Feras Fayyad, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Fayyad said he hoped his film, which won the Sundance Grand Jury World Cinema Documentary prize and will also be screened on a BBC channel, will encourage Britons to step into the shoes of Syrians and understand their everyday heroism.

"By showing this film in parliament today, we hope to draw attention back to the ongoing suffering of Syrian civilians, and call on the UK government to do more to provide aid and bring an end to this devastating conflict," said Alison McGovern, co-chair of the Friends of Syria parliamentary group.

The Syrian civil war, now in its seventh year, has lasted longer than World War Two and killed hundreds of thousands of people leading to the world's worst refugee crisis, driving 11 million from their homes.

"While the Syrian conflict may be dropping off the headlines, the Syrian people continue to be attacked every day and still desperately need our support," said James Sadri, head of global advocacy group The Syria Campaign.

"What has been allowed to happen there is a stain on our generation and this campaign will keep pushing until we see concrete positive change for Syrians."

December will mark one year since rebel resistance in the ancient city of Aleppo ended. The once-flourishing economic centre became a flashpoint for violence between insurgents and the Syrian army to remove President Bashar al-Assad.

"It's a personal journey for everyone who watches it," said Fayyad, who grew up in the city. "It's not just political it's a human crisis."

(Reporting by Adela Suliman; editing by Ros Russell. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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