‘These people have no idea about real situation in Syria’: Russia slams Dublin embassy protest

Russia’s ambassador to Ireland has criticized an “unauthorized” Syria protest outside its Dublin mission by anti-Assad activists, the latest in a string of demonstrations and counter-demonstrations outside diplomatic missions across Europe this week.

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A group of around two dozen people gathered outside the gated compound on Orwell Road in the Irish capital on Saturday afternoon, holding placards that read, “Stop your barbarism in Aleppo, Putin” and “Putin Stop Bombs on Babies.”

Children blocked the entrance to the building by holding a string of soft toys across the gates.

To symbolize the "slaughter" in what was once Syria’s biggest city, where a battle between government forces and militants has been ongoing for months, the protesters smeared baby dolls and soft toys in red paint, and dropped them outside the entrance in the climactic part of the demonstration.

The display was organized by the Irish Syria Solidarity Movement (ISSM) which “recognizes the legitimacy of the popular Syrian uprising that began in March 2011” and “deplores the brutal and savage repression of the uprising by the Assad family oligarchy,” according to its mission statement.

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Nikolay Ivanov, Minister-Counsellor at Russia’s embassy in Dublin, bemoaned that the embassy had not been informed about the “illegal” picket in advance, and said that staff called the police. But the diplomat also questioned the substance of the demonstration, the latest in a series organized by ISSM.

“Unfortunately most people taking part in this demonstration are unaware about the real situation in Syria, because the main slogan of this demonstration was about the Russians’ participation in the events in Syria in general, and in Aleppo in particular,” he told RT by phone.

Ivanov also reminded the activists that Russia, which has a military contingent in Syria following an appeal from President Bashar Assad last year, has not flown its planes over Aleppo for 19 days.

“It is well known to most people around the world that the Russian Air Force is not participating in the operations inside Aleppo. They receive their news from the Western mass media. The lack of accurate information has resulted in such actions.”

ISSM is affiliated with Syria Campaign, which organized the mass dumping of mannequins outside the Russian embassy in London on Friday, highlighting the same issues. Russia’s mission has called the action “provocative,” and filed a complaint with the UK Foreign Office.

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The chair of the International Affairs Committee of the Federation Council, Russia’s upper house of parliament, Konstantin Kosachev, dismissed the latest protest in Dublin as “belated, hypocritical, pointless, and as such, immoral” in a post on his Facebook page on Saturday night.