Paris: Eiffel tower decked with ginormous Syrian opposition flag


Syrian demonstrators wave the pre-Baath Syrian flags during an anti-regime protest in the centre of Idlib in northwestern Syria. The Assad regime suffered a "tremendous blow" when a bomb ripped through a government building in Damascus, killing several senior officials.


Bulent Kilic

A pair of Syrian anti-government activist brothers hung a gigantic flag used by the country's rebel movement on the Eiffel Tower in Paris in a bid for world attention, reported Agence-France Press

Tourists standing around reportedly cheered as the two brothers, Ismael and Iyad Hashem, on Friday unfurled the 23-by-100 foot Syrian flag used by the opposition and formerly flown under the country's 1930-1958 Syrian Republic, reported Russia's RIA Novosti.

"The international community, through its inaction, becomes an accomplice of al-Assad. It's time to act," Ismael Hashem said, according to RIA Novosti. "Thousands of people were killed by Assad's bullets. This is because the international community is doing nothing."

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The crisis in Syria, where conflict between President Bashar al-Assad and an armed rebellion against his rule has taken 17,000 lives, has reached fever point over the last several weeks, with the White House warning of a possible massacre in the Syrian city of Aleppo.

Efforts by the international community to end the violence have failed. Reports today say Syrian government forces are storming the city, which is Syria's largest. 

Hashem and his brother are the sons of former Syrian brigadier general Akil Hashem, who now lives in the US, said AFP, with Ismael the head of the "France Syria Democracy" organization that lead the flag operation, said RIA Novosti.

After hanging the flag, the two were arrested on charges of "violation of a commercial activity" and infringing construction work around the tower, said AFP, but they were soon released by an order from the public prosecutor's office.