Berlin: More than 300 activists have begun Monday their long march from Berlin to the war-battered Syrian city of Aleppo, to draw international support for the civilians trapped in besieged areas in Syria, Anadolu Agency reported.
Activists from various European countries gathered near Berlin’s former Tempelhof Airport, before beginning their nearly 3,500-kilometer walk, with the hope of forcing politicians to take action.
“Thank you for coming, I can’t believe that the idea which I expressed three weeks ago happened,” Polish blogger and journalist Anna Alboth, who initiated the idea told participants.
"I am not naive to believe that I can stop the war, but I think we should do everything to change something,” she said.
Officially titled the ‘Civil March for Aleppo’, the campaign was recently launched by Alboth and her friends on Facebook, and drew big attention with more than 15 thousand users expressing support for the initiative.
Alboth said that they are representing ordinary European citizens who are touched by the humanitarian tragedy in Syria, and want their politicians to take action for an immediate and unhindered humanitarian access in Syria.
The activists’ route will take them through the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia, Greece, and finally Turkey, then to Aleppo.
Tens of thousands of civilians were evacuated from eastern Aleppo last week, after Turkey and Russia convinced warring parties to hold a cease-fire so those trapped in the area could get out.
However, reports of extrajudicial killings and grave human rights violations in areas recently taken over by the regime forces remain a concern.
According to the UN, there are at least 300,000 civilians needing emergency aid in various besieged and hard-to-reach areas in the war-torn country.
Syria has been locked in a devastating civil war since early 2011, when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests – which erupted as part of the Arab Spring uprisings – with unexpected ferocity.
Since then, more than a quarter of a million people have been killed and more than 10 million displaced across the war-battered country, according to the UN.
However, the Syrian Center for Policy Research, a Beirut-based nongovernmental organization, has put the total death toll from the five-year conflict at more than 470,000.