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The New Arab

Qatar cancels National Day festivities in solidarity with Aleppo

Qatar's National Day on 18 December marks the founding of the state in 1878 [AFP]

Date of publication: 14 December, 2016

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Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani has ordered the cancellation of the country's National Day festivities in solidarity with the people of Syria's war-ravaged Aleppo.
Qatar's Emir has announced that the Gulf state would call off its National Day celebrations next week in solidarity with the people of Syria's war-ravaged Aleppo.

The decision by Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani came "in solidarity with our people in the city of Aleppo, who are subjected to the worst kind of repression and torture, displacement and genocide", said a statement carried on Qatar News Agency.

The annual celebrations on 18 December, which marks the founding of the state in 1878, usually involve a parade in the centre of the capital Doha, dancing and a huge fireworks display.

Qatar has provided arms to Sunni rebel groups during Syria's five-year conflict and houses a Syrian opposition "embassy" in Doha.

Nizar al-Haraki, ambassador of the Syrian opposition coalition in Doha, told AFP that the decision to cancel the celebrations was "a dignified humanitarian gesture and a strong and positive message of solidarity".

Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said on Tuesday that the war in Syria would not end if the regime recaptured the country's second city Aleppo.

He told Doha-based Al Jazeera channel that the international community's response to the "catastrophic" humanitarian situation in Aleppo appears to have failed.

"It's a shame on all of us, that we cannot do anything and we find ourselves handcuffed, that we cannot deliver anything for the Syrian people."

The Syrian army has recaptured more than 90 percent of the former rebel stronghold in east Aleppo, a month into an assault to regain control of all of the northern city.

More than 465 civilians, including 62 children, have died in east Aleppo during the assault, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Wednesday in a new toll.

Another 142 civilians, among them 42 children, have been killed by rebel rocket fire on government-held zones in the same period, the Britain-based monitor said.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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