Refuge from a hell on earth - Massacres in besieged Aleppo

IN June 1944, the French village of Oradour-sur-Glane was razed and 642 of its residents, women and children included, were massacred by a Nazi Waffen-SS company. 

After the war, Charles de Gaulle ordered the ruins be maintained as a permanent war memorial. For some years now, Aleppo has seemed, though on an entirely different scale, a modern, dystopian Oradour-sur-Glane in the making.

Tragically, yesterday’s warning-cum-plea from the UN’s human rights office that pro-Syrian regime forces have, in the final rebel strongholds of eastern Aleppo, been executing civilians on the spot, makes that comparison all the more valid and chilling. Jens Laerke, a UN spokesman, said it appeared as if there had been a “complete meltdown of humanity“ in the once-magnificent city.

This has been a brutal, savage war — which one is not? — and it has dragged on so very long that innocence is in pretty short supply on either side — or among the puppeteer superpowers backing one side against the other. Against that backdrop, yesterday’s announcement by Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald that Ireland will accept 4,000 Syrian refugees is entirely appropriate and welcome. This will, in today’s build-a-wall climate, provoke some protest, some justified fears around integration, and other obvious challenges, but in the face of the horror unfolding in Aleppo, anything less would represent cruel indifference, hypocrisy, and cowardice.

More on this topic

Israel claims strikes against Iranian sites in SyriaIsrael claims strikes against Iranian sites in Syria

At least 18 killed in Syria car bomb attackAt least 18 killed in Syria car bomb attack

Syrian troops begin deploying along border with TurkeySyrian troops begin deploying along border with Turkey

Turkish patrol kills protester amid shaky truce in north-east SyriaTurkish patrol kills protester amid shaky truce in north-east Syria


Lifestyle

The Marquee in Cork dominated the gig news this week, with a string of announcements for what is expected to be the final year at the Monahan Road venue before the site is developedScene + Heard: The most played artist on Spotify and all the latest music news

Esther N McCarthy picks perfect paperweights, brilliant books and Christmas collectables this week.Brilliant books and Christmas collectables - here's our wish list

John Spillane tells Ellie O’Byrne how he’s hoping to fund his next album by taking the bardic route of writing unique compositions for people on whatever they’d like‘I’ll write you a song for €1,000' - John Spillane's unique way to fund new album

From starring in a Cork-set film, to securing a role in Ridley Scott’s major new HBO series, it has been quite a year for Niamh Algar, writes Esther McCarthyIreland’s next big thing: Niamh Algar on her incredible year

More From The Irish Examiner