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Churches worldwide ring bells for Aleppo casualties

The Lutheran parish of Kallio in Helsinki have decided to ring their bells at 5pm every day for twelve days following the intensified Russian and Syrian bombing of the city.

Teemu Laajasalo, vicar of the Kallio parish, told Reuters: "after reading the news that day, of Aleppo, we decided to ring funeral bells to remember the dead. First I just asked a few local churches to join us".

Word quickly spread and now hundreds of churches across Europe, the United States and Australia, have signed up.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland have also set up a "Bells for Aleppo" website that lists all the churches taking part.

"We all see the devastating events in Aleppo, but at the same time feel powerless to help, because of the complexity of the situation. With the bells, we want to make our voices heard, and give hope for better future," Laajasalo said.

Churches in Finland have previously combined to ring bells at the funeral of Finland's former president Urho Kaleva Kekkonen in 1986.

Meanwhile, a new corridor for rebels and civilians to escape besieged eastern areas of Aleppo has generated little response.

Not a single evacuation had been made on the route, which is part of a pause in fighting announced by Russia, by midday on Friday.

The United Nations humanitarian agency reported a lack of security had made medical evacuations from the neighbourhoods impossible so far.

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