Hamilton

Anger, frustration and prayers as Hamiltonians gathered to stand with Aleppo

Outside Hamilton City Hall, frustrated Syrians, members of the Muslim community and Hamilton residents chanted Wednesday night to bring awareness to the conflict in Syria and to stand in solidarity with the Syrians who lost family, friends and homes.

'We're hoping at the very least to bring awareness to the larger Hamilton community,' imam says

Members of the Hamilton Muslim community, Syrians and residents gathered to call for action to end the violence in Aleppo at city hall, Wednesday. (Amara McLaughlin/CBC)

Surrounded by 200 impassioned Hamiltonians chanting, "Save Syria," Aghyad Alshawaf shares his three prayers for Syria, which he fled almost one year ago. 

"Today I ask God to answer three prayers of mine," Alshawaf said in Arabic, then in English. "First, to stop the killing in Syria; second, for the murderers responsible to be tried and held accountable for their crimes; and lastly, for the restoration and unification of my beloved homeland." 

"This is the least that we can do as people who are affected by the war in Syria," Aghyad Alshawaf, right, told CBC Hamilton through an Arabic interpreter. Alshawaf, 29, fled from his hometown of Hama, a city north of Damascus and came to Hamilton as a refugee. He calls himself a "Syrian survivor." (Amara McLaughlin/CBC)

Outside Hamilton City Hall on Wednesday night, frustrated Syrians, members of the Muslim community and Hamilton residents also shared their wishes for a country fractured by civil war. 

Around 200 frustrated Hamiltonians wore red and carried signs at City Hall Wednesday night. (Amara McLaughlin/CBC)

"I came out today because I think it's important to stand with the people of Aleppo and show our support," said Nagham Azzam, a social worker at Hamilton Health Sciences. 

Azzam is Palestinian, and although she isn't Syrian she identifies with the frustration because "at the end of the day, they're our brothers and sisters in humanity," she said.  

Anas Al-Kassem, a Syrian-Canadian doctor, condemned the Canadian government's lack of involvement in Aleppo. (Amara McLaughlin/CBC)

Anas Al-Kassem, a Syrian-Canadian doctor who was born in Syria but works as a surgeon in Simcoe, Ont., has been trying to get his doctors and nurses out of the war-torn city, with no success.

He called for the Canadian government to "step up." 

Desperate cries for Aleppo and Syria ring out on the steps of City Hall. (Amara McLaughlin/CBC)

But he wasn't the only one, Imam Sayed Tora of the Hamilton Downtown Mosque was also "calling on the Trudeau government to put some pressure on Russia and other countries that are playing a part in this." 

"We're hoping at the very least to bring awareness to the larger Hamilton community," Tora told CBC Hamilton. ​
Hamiltonians of all ages show their support for Aleppo and stand in solidarity with Syria. (Amara McLaughlin/CBC)

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