Syria solidarity activists protest at London City Airport and Dublin Airport

Last Saturday protesters arrived at the CityJet desks at London City Airport and Dublin Airport to make a “civilian protection announcement” chanting “Sukhoi jets are killer jets” and do not fly killer jets, do not fly CityJet.”

Dublin-based airline CityJet is Europe’s leading purchaser of passenger aircraft from Russian state company Sukhoi which also supplies war planes used by Putin and Assad to attack civilians in Syria.The Syrian regime and Russian Air Force are currently bombarding the people of besieged Eastern Ghouta suburbs in Damascus. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) reported 4,829 wounded and 1,005 people killed in Eastern Ghouta in the two weeks between 18 February and 3 March 2018.

Syria solidarity activists in the UK and the Republic of Ireland issued the following joint statement:

Sukhoi fighter planes supplied by Russia have been used by the Assad regime to target civilians since 2012. The Russian Air Force has targeted and killed Syrian civilians with its fleet of Sukhoi war planes since directly intervening in September 2015. In 2016, the Russian Air Force in concert with the Syrian Air Force used Sukhoi jets to deliberately bomb a UN aid convoy in Aleppo. Russian Air Force Sukhoi jets have
repeatedly targeted schools and hospitals.

These attacks are crimes against humanity, breaking multiple UN Security Council resolutions and violating international humanitarian law.

This has not stopped CityJet from doing business with Sukhoi. CityJet was the first European airline to purchase Sukhoi’s SuperJet and in 2017 it placed a billion dollar order for Sukhoi aircraft. Sukhoi considers CityJet a valued customer and hopes that CityJet’s operation of Sukhoi aircraft, both under CityJet’s own name and under the names of other carriers on “wet-lease” contracts will boost Sukhoi’s sales. CityJet’s willingness to trade with the same state company supplying the planes killing innocent people in Syria is sending Putin and his government a message that whatever the crimes they commit, it will be business as usual with Europe.

Now in Eastern Ghouta an ongoing air campaign has killed hundreds of men, women, and children and destroyed homes and hospitals despite yet another Security Council resolution demanding a ceasefire. Russia is flouting both this UN resolution and the most basic conventions against the targeting of civilians.

Sukhoi Su-22 and Su-24 jets have been photographed dropping bombs in Ghouta over the past few days. In the first six months of the Russian intervention in Syria, Sukhoi Su-25 jets dropped 6,000 bombs on Syria. Russia has been using Syria as a testing ground for new Su-57 stealth fighters. Sukhoi is part of the United Aircraft Corporation, a company in which the Russian state holds the majority of shares, and is an integral part of the Russian murder machine in Syria. (…)

Photo: Steve Eason