Hundreds demonstrate in Budapest against Russian military involvement in Aleppo

December 19, 2016

Photo: Kettős Mérce

Demonstrators flocked to the Russian embassy in Budapest Sunday afternoon to protest Russian and Iranian involvement in the ongoing crisis in Syria. According to Index.hu, about 300 demonstrators attended the event organized by left-wing blog Kettős Mérce.

Speakers condemned the Russian government for its military involvement in the battle for Aleppo.

András Jámbor, a writer for Kettős Mérce, said that all belligerents involved in the Syria crisis share in the responsibility for what has transpired, but as regards Aleppo, Russia’s military support of the Assad regime’s military has displaced tens of thousands of Syrians.

Demonstrators held signs reading, “We stand with Aleppo!”

The demonstration levied just as much blame at Iran as it did Russia. One speaker, a man from Iran, claimed that Iran is sending Afghan refugees to fight in Syria with the promise of citizenship.

According to this speaker, Iranian media portrays the conflict in Syria as an anti-Shiite uprising fueled by the West.

A Russian speaker at the event told demonstrators that, regardless of what caused the civil war in Syria, the simple fact remains that it is the Russian military which is bombing civilians in Aleppo.

According to Index, the most serious speech was delivered by a Syrian man, Jamal Aletas, who claimed that Syria has become a pawn of Russia and Iran.

“Russia is deceiving the world when it claims that it is fighting against terrorists,” Aletas said. “There is no battle in areas occupied by the Islamic State. Peaceful people were turned into revolutionaries when the Assad regime responded to peaceful protests by executing those in the streets.”

According to Aletas, the regime was almost overthrown before Russia and Iran interfered, and this has prolonged the chaos in Syria.

“Our goal is to see the Russian military withdraw [from Syria], to put an end to the butchering, and to see restitution paid to the Syrians, the orphans and the injured,” he said in Hungarian.

At the end of the protest, a sign made at the scene was erected. “Just stop right there, Putin,” the sign read.