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Srebrenica mothers protest at Turkey-Syria border

Conscience Convoy wants to raise awareness of the crimes committed against women in Syria's prisons.

Attorney Gulden Sonmez

Hundreds of women are gathering at Turkey's border with Syria to draw attention to the plight of Syrian women after years of civil war.

Organisers of the protest say more than 6,000 women are currently being held in prisons in Syria and some are being subjected to torture and rape.

Conscience Convoy

Around 200 Bosnian women had set off from Sarajevo to Istanbul to join an all-women convoy to raise awareness about the suffering of women and young girls imprisoned in Syria by the Syrian government.

The International Conscience Convoy, which describes itself as the "voice of the oppressed women in Syria" set off from Istanbul on Tuesday, March 6 in a journey across Turkey to southern Hatay province, at the Turkey-Syria border.

The Conscience Convoy of women from around 55 countries in 155 busses is scheduled to stop along the way in the cities of Izmir, Sakarya, Ankara and Adana.

Women's voice

More than 465,000 Syrians have been killed in the Syrian war, over a million injured, and over 12 million - half the country's prewar population - displaced from their homes. Women have been the silent victims of the ongoing eight-year war.

The organizers of the Conscience Convoy say they hope "to draw attention to the suffering of women who are being tortured, raped, executed, imprisoned and made refugees since the beginning of the war in Syria.

"To initiate an attempt to release all girl and women prisoners unlawfully held in Syria; to invite all humanity to take effective measures to protect women during conflicts and wars.

"We as women from Turkey and around the world are joining the Conscience Convoy to raise voices for Syrian women, who have been unlawfully held and tortured in Syrian prisons," said the group in a statement on February 27.

Mothers of Srebrenica

Members of the Mothers of the Srebrenica group are among the women joining from Bosnia; they faced the same fate as Syrian women during the Bosnian war during 1992-1995.

The president of the Association of the Mothers of Srebrenica and Zepa Enclaves, Munira Subasic, joined the sendoff ceremony of the Bosnian women.

"Srebrenica's mothers are well aware of what pain means, now Syrian women are experiencing the same pain we went through," she said, speaking to Anadolu news agency.

"We are in the 21st century; the United Nations, the US and Russia need to be ashamed," she added.

"On March 8 we will all together to call out for help for the Syrian women held in Syrian prisons," said Enida Gujo, the Balkan Cultural Alliance Association representative.

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