Thousands of people took to the streets of Istanbul and London on Tuesday to protest the reported massacres of civilians in Aleppo by Russian and Syrian government forces as a truce was announced in the war-torn city.
Turkish protesters gathered outside the Russian embassy to rally against the bloody battle in the Syrian city.
Turkey confirmed Tuesday that a ceasefire deal was agreed following talks between the Syrian opposition and Russia, which would mean rebels evacuating from war-ravaged eastern Aleppo. The agreement comes as Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime is close to recapturing all of east Aleppo, which rebels have held since 2012.
A Turkish government official said the agreement came into force at 6:00 pm (1500 GMT).
Outside the British prime minister’s official residence at Downing Street in London, demonstrators brandished signs reading “Aleppo is burning” and “Inaction = complicity.”
Photos of the protest saw crowds waving Syrian flags and condemning the violence.
— Rami Jarrah (@RamiJarrah) December 13, 2016
Civilians and rebel fighters were to start evacuating from Syria’s Aleppo “within hours” under a deal reached Tuesday that would end years of opposition resistance in the city.
The agreement came amid mounting global outrage over reports of atrocities, including dozens of summary executions, as forces loyal to Assad closed in on the last pocket of rebel territory in Aleppo.
The United Nations said it had received credible reports of at least 82 civilians, including 11 women and 13 children, being executed by pro-government forces in Aleppo in recent days.
In Geneva, UN rights office spokesman Rupert Colville said pro-government fighters had in some cases entered homes and killed those inside, and in others “caught and killed on the spot” fleeing civilians.
The UN was “filled with the deepest foreboding for those who remain in this last hellish corner of opposition-held eastern Aleppo,” he said.
Witnesses in Aleppo described scenes of carnage in rebel areas, with bodies lying amid the rubble of city streets, as desperate residents sat on pavements with nowhere to shelter.
Syria’s army has taken more than 90 percent of the territory once held by rebels in east Aleppo, after launching an all-out offensive last month to seize control of the entire city.
Aleppo, a cultural and economic hub in northern Syria second only to Damascus in importance, had been split between a rebel-controlled east and government-held west since 2012.