The mayor of the war-torn Syrian city of Aleppo has given an impassioned statement to European Council president Donald Tusk, pleading with him and other EU leaders to save innocent by-standers by "opening a corridor" for refugees.
Brita Hagi Hasan made the comments during a private meeting with Mr Tusk at the European Council’s 27 member summit this morning, before meeting other leaders including Taoiseach Enda Kenny, writes Fiachra Ó Cionnaith, Political Correspondent, in Brussels.
In a written letter to the European Council pleading with help in addressing the humanitarian crisis in his country, Mr Hasan said Aleppo is pleading with the world to intervene.
While not directly blaming Russia, other outside forces, rebels or Syrian president Bashar al Assad for the deaths of tens of thousands of people in the city, he insisted action and not words are now needed for those caught in the cross-fire.
"I do not ask you to save our narrow streets, our markets, our walls; they are gone.
"I do not ask you to save the deceased souls; they are gone.
"I do not ask you to save the freedom; it is gone.
"I ask for something more.
"I ask you to save the rest of our lives, our women and children, by opening a corridor.
"I do not demand anything from you, except from listening to my testimony," he said.
In a statement responding to the private meeting, European Council president Donald Tusk said no EU member is "indifferent" to what is taking place and pledged to do "everything we can" to help those in Aleppo.
"The last thing your people in Aleppo need today is more words of sympathy. The only thing you need today is real and effective protection and assistance.
"I am absolutely aware of this fact. Your words, the words of the people of Aleppo and the facts are much more powerful than any of our words or declarations.
"There are some global limitations and problems, but this is what we want to do, we should and we will try to do everything we can to help you and the civilians in Aleppo," he said.