Northern Ireland news

Culture Night to offer virtual tour of besieged Syrian city

The virtual reality video offers a glimpse of life in Aleppo
Paul Ainsworth

A VIRTUAL reality tour of the devastated Syrian city of Aleppo is to be offered to Culture Night revellers in Belfast this week.

Amnesty International is inviting people to take time out from the arts and entertainment on Friday for a stark look at the streets of a city ravaged by civil war.

Virtual reality headsets will be offered to those attending Culture Night activities around the city centre’s Cathedral Quarter, depicting the rubble and misery those remaining in Aleppo experience on a daily basis.

The city has born the brunt of the five-year Syrian war, with government forces under president Bashar al-Assad having pounded parts of the urban sprawl held by rebel forces.

A fragile ceasefire has delivered several days of relative calm in the city, with Syrian army forces saying they will maintain the truce until Monday.

The devastation, including the “apocalyptic” aftermath of a barrel-bombing attack in a marketplace, will be part of the “immersive” experience offered by the headsets.

Patrick Corrigan, of Amnesty International Northern Ireland, said: “This truly shocking virtual tour will transport people from downtown Belfast to the bombed-out streets of Aleppo.

“Culture Night is a great opportunity for fun, but it’s also an opportunity to see the world through others’ eyes. That’s why we are bringing our VR headsets to Belfast on Friday night.

“The barrel bombing of Aleppo is one of the great crimes of the 21st century. The more we can document and demonstrate the evidence, the more likely it is we’re eventually going to see people brought to justice for these terrible crimes.”

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