All-women convoy campaigning for release of women jailed by Syrian regime starts journey in Istanbul
ISTANBUL – Anadolu Agency
An all-women international convoy started its three-day journey in Istanbul on March 6 to raise awareness of the suffering of women and young girls imprisoned by the Syrian government.
With participants from over 50 countries, the International Conscience Convoy, calling itself the “voice of oppressed women in Syria,” started its journey on 55 buses after holding a press conference in Istanbul’s Yenikapı Square.
Speaking at the press conference, human rights lawyer and convoy organizer Gülden Sönmez said the journey campaigns for the release of imprisoned Syrian women and spark hope for a better future.
Currently, over 6,700 women — more than 400 of whom are young girls — are still living in these brutal prisons, said a statement by the Conscience Convoy.
“We hear you, my Syrian sisters. We share your pain and we hear you, despite the efforts of those who are trying to drown you out. My dear sisters, we’re coming for you,” Sönmez said.
“We are setting off on this journey to be the conscience of those who are in Syrian prisons,” Yvonne Ridley, a British journalist and women’s rights campaigner, said at the press conference.
Speaking to state-run Anadolu Agency, Dia Hassoun, spokesperson for the convoy, said that it aims to reach the world to break the silence and show the suffering of Syrian women.
“We hope that the international community will take effective measures to protect women in Syria and all around the world. We hope that they will take effective measures to ensure the release of these women who are now in prisons,” she said.
The international convoy, created by Turkish women, includes women from all walks of life and professions, including civil representatives, lawyers, academics, artists, athletes, and housewives.
During the journey, the convoy will make stops in the Turkish cities of İzmit, Sakarya, Ankara, and Adana and will reach the southern province of Hatay at the Turkish-Syrian border on March 8, International Women’s Day. Before reaching Hatay, the 55-bus convoy is expected to grow in number to 150 buses.