Syria Feature: British Aid Worker Breaks the Aleppo “Siege”

PHOTO: Men unload aid from a convoy after a five-day journey into Aleppo city


A convoy led by a British aid worker has reached Syria’s largest city Aleppo, using a narrow corridor to get past pro-Assad forces.

Tauqir “Tox” Sharif spent five days attempting to reach the city, driving an old ambulance from the UK in a three-vehicle convoy with food and medicine.

Britain’s ITV News features a series of pictures and videos from Sharif’s journey, which he narrates as he drives the ambulance camouflaged in mud:

It’s really important to understand that it is not safe bringing aid into Aleppo. Look at this road, it is completely smashed. Everywhere, look at the cars, look at the shrapnel. There are planes in the sky right now. We’re being hit. Look at the smoke.

Sharif abandoned the ambulance after a nearby explosion, allegedly from a cluster bomb, but reached his destination in the bed of a pick-up truck: “Look at this place man, look at this place. You can see this is what we have to do to get aid into those people that are being choked.”

After delivering around three tons of aid, Sharif spent Friday night in a local hospital. But the next morning, the hospital was hit by airstrikes, knocking out three generators:

We’re being targeted right now, the whole world needs to know, that hospitals are being hit. Civilians are being killed, you can hear children screaming and crying.

We’ve been here less than 24 hours and the hospital’s been hit. We’re covered in dust. The hospital now has no power. One person has been killed and a small child injured.

Pro-Assad forces, enabled by Russian airstrikes, imposed the siege on opposition areas of Aleppo city last month when they cut the last road to the north. However, a rebel offensive from late July has reopened a 2-km (1.25-mile) corridor from the southwest, albeit one that is not secure from attack.

Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.

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