About 60 people showed up on the steps of Calgary City Hall late Wednesday afternoon for what organizers called an “emergency protest” in response to this week’s apparent chemical attack in northern Syria.
Holding up photos of victims of the attack, many people expressed feelings of helplessness and heartbreak.
“I can’t do anything,” said Monaf Alagal, a 21-year-old Syrian refugee living in Calgary with his family. “I just pray to God for these people.”
“This is beyond shock. We’re all stunned,” Sam Nammoura, with the Syrian Refugee Support Group, said. “As a Syrian descendant myself, the question is, ‘what else can we do?’”
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Twelve-year-old Sumeyye held a homemade sign that read “this is becoming a war on children. We must act to save a generation of traumatized, isolated and suffering children.”
“Even though I’m in a different country, I still feel scared. I don’t think it’s right. It makes me cry,” Sumeyye told Global News. Her mom asked that her last name not be published out of concern for their family’s safety.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the attack in the House of Commons Wednesday that killed as many as 80 people, and said Canada is providing $840 million for humanitarian relief.
“It is critical that we hold to account those responsible for these war crimes,” Trudeau said.
In Brussels for a meeting on Syria’s future, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said the attack is in direct contravention of the agreement Syria signed.
“Absolutely raises very grave questions about the possibility of working with the Assad regime. They are responsible for this and we have to treat them as responsible and hold them to account,” Freeland said.
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