For about 50 Red Deer residents who once called Syria home, the sight of the ongoing civil war in their home country sparks emotion.
So much so, that they took to the corner of Little Gaetz Avenue and Ross Street on Saturday to protest the Bashar al-Assad regime and its ties to Russia and its President Vladimir Putin.
“Al-Assad and Putin have to stop killing people in Syria,” said Adel Ali. “They’re killing a lot of kids, they’re killing a lot of families. Putin is a bad person.”
Carrying banners and flags of Syria and of the Syrian opposition, they spoke out about how children and families are being treated. Telling stories of asylum seekers being turned away at the border while trying to leave Syria.
“All the families here in Red Deer who came from Syria have because Bashar al-Assad has killed a lot of people there,” said Yasser Sobh. “This president is a very bad man.
“Those people there need help now from all over the world.”
The civil war started in March 2011 and has had several ceasefires that have been broken. In June 2018, Daraa was attacked, which ended the most recent ceasefire negotiated in late 2017 between Russia, the United States and Jordan.
Awad Hasan spoke about his frustration with the break of the ceasefire.
“Please stop the killing, please stop killing,” said Hasan.
There have also been allegations of chemical weapons attacks such as sarin, mustard gas and chlorine gas. In some cases used against civilians.
Some of the signs were written in Arabic while others in English.
Ali and Ibrahim Altahi also spoke about the need for neighbouring counties to be more accepting of refugees and asylum seekers who have had difficulty leaving Syria and escaping the battlefields.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, as of February 2018, between 353,593 and 498,593 people had been killed. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees there were more than 5.1 million refugees from Syria in July 2017 and more than 7 million people had been internally displaced.