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The Mayor of Aleppo at the European Council: actions… not words!

Brita Hagi Hasan in front of the press (Credit: Council of the EU / B2)

(B2) In front of the members of the European Council, as previously in front of Donald Tusk, Thursday (December 15), the mayor of Aleppo did not mince his words.

We " want actions, not words ". There is a " failure of the international community, a failure of Europe, a failure of NGOs denounced Brita Hagi Hasan.

This intervention is exceptional in more than one way. It is rare that a foreign leader is authorized to speak before the European Council (1). It is very, very rare that a leader of an opposition – and even more so “simple local elected official” – is. The presence of the mayor of Aleppo is, in itself, a real tour de force, a “great communication move” but also an indicator of the concern of Europeans, a real political gesture (2).

His public intervention is therefore worth the detour. It deserves to be read in its entirety, especially as it covers, for the most part according to our information, the remarks made within the European Council by the Syrian elected official. B2 therefore transcribed it.

“This is not the first time that I have been within its walls to give my message. But what we expect are actions rather than words. The remaining children of Aleppo are waiting to be saved. They ask the entire international community to save them. For the moment, the international community has not been able to provide a solution for eastern Aleppo, not even bringing in milk for the babies.

I am the president of the citizens' council. I was freely elected by the people. I am not a politician. Just a human representing them and trying to help other human beings. But the silence of the international community makes me cry, because I see the consequences for children.

These crimes, these murders of more than 500 people and which force more than 000 million to emigrate and have left more than 12 million injured throughout Syria.

50.000 inhabitants of eastern Aleppo are only waiting for death. After the failure of the international community, the Security Council and the UN to impose a humanitarian truce, what can I say to the civilians who need to get out? We need the mobilization of the entire international community to resolve this. What we askSo here it's not the best solution, it's only the least militarized. TensThousands of massacres are perpetrated every day. It is a tragic situation that we cannot even describe.

Aleppo is one of the oldest cities in the world. But, because of these criminals, it has been turned into a city of rebels and destruction. The war crimes, crimes against humanity, which have been perpetrated there, are a violation of all international laws. Despite this, it seems that the regime maintains its legitimacy in the eyes of many countries. We should be able to separate security issues from political ones, especially in the Security Council [where] any initiative is blocked by a Russian veto. Facing the international community, I speak to you about humanity, I speak about, and to, humans.

Sadly, the international community has not been able to do anything. Aleppo is neither the first nor the last. 12 million people were forced to flee. Even within the EU there are millions of Syrian refugees. They came to Europe simply because they were fleeing the bombings, the assassinations. This bloodbath, this situation, is terrible.

We demand justice against these criminals. We ask for protection, help for civilians, in the name of humanity, of human rights. Sadly, human rights associations have failed. Today, the evacuation is already stopped. Four people were hit by bullets and one person was killed. Even civilians, who come out of their homes, are killed. We call for genuine protection of civilians.

History will not forgive. History takes note of what is happening. History takes note of the international silence in the face of crimes against humanity committed in Syria. The will of human beings is what will ultimately prevail.

There is an urgent need for cohesion to force the regime and the Iranian militias on the ground to respect the ceasefire. We need the organization of a safe exit for civilians. And then, we will need the Security Council, based on the evidence of the abuses it has committed, to remove the legitimacy of this regime. The evidence exists.

A message that complements the one sent the day before, in writing.

“Mr. President of the European Council, Ladies and Gentlemen, Heads of State and Government, I am not asking you to save our narrow streets, our souks, our walls, it's over. I'm not asking you to bring back lost lives, it's over. I'm not asking you to save freedom, it's over. But I ask you one last thing. I ask you again to save what remains of our lives, our women and our children, by opening a corridor. Tomorrow morning you will be gathered in Brussels for the European Council. I am not asking you anything except to receive me and hear my testimony. »

(Leonor Hubaut with NGV)

(1) This was the case for Ukrainian President Poroshenko on several occasions in 2014-2015, or American President Barack Obama, in March 2014, and his predecessor George Bush, in February 2005. The interventions of foreign leaders are rather l the prerogative of bilateral summits where, on the European side, only the European institutions are generally represented (fixed presidency and/or rotating presidency of the EU, European Commission, etc.)

(2) In 2012, even the leaders of the CNT, recognized by some of the members of the EU but not by all, had to wait in the corridors of the European Council, before being able to discuss with certain officials but not authorized to enter into the meeting room

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).