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Arab humanitarian aid convoy to head to Syria this month

By Muath Freij - Feb 03,2013 - Last updated at Feb 03,2013

AMMAN — The Jordanian Commission to Support the Syrian People (JCSSP) on Sunday announced the launch of the first Arab humanitarian caravan to Syria.

JCSSP President Ali Abul Sukkar said the caravan, organised in cooperation with the International Campaign in Support of the Syrian People (ICSSP), will provide displaced people in Syria with humanitarian assistance.

“This is the first Arab caravan which will ferry humanitarian assistance to Syrians in their country. Around 15 Arab states are taking part in this project including Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Morocco and Tunisia,” Abul Sukkar told reporters during a press conference on Sunday.

According to UN estimates, over 60,000 people have been killed in the 22-month-old Syrian conflict between an armed opposition and the regime’s forces.

The opposition, inspired by Arab Spring protests in Tunisia and Egypt, started as a peaceful movement, but turned into an armed revolt due to the regime’s violent crackdown.

Abul Sukkar noted that the commission collaborated with several Arab countries to launch this initiative.

“Representatives of the [participating] Arab countries will gather in Turkey to send the first caravan by the end of this month,” he added.

Bassam El Abdullah, the general coordinator of the ICSSP, said that organisers will get the humanitarian aid from Turkey.

“We will buy the items that will be sent to Syria from the Turkish market and send them to the liberated [rebel-controlled] areas in Syria,” Abdullah noted.

“Organisers will cooperate with the local committees in Syria to distribute these items,” he added.

Abdullah told The Jordan Times that organisers will ensure that the aid reaches all Syrians in need.

“Even if there are people from the Alawite community… we will provide them with assistance,” he added.

The Alawites, an off-shoot of Shiite Islam, are a minority in Syria and mostly loyal to the Syrian regime, led by President Bashar Assad, an Alawite himself.

“There are around five to six million displaced Syrians inside Syria,” Abul Sukkar added.

Abdullah noted that many people have suffered from the violence.

“Around 65,000 people have been killed, 120,000 have been wounded and 230,000 are missing,” he told reporters.

Abdullah said the caravan was a message to the Syrian people to let them know that Arabs are supporting them. 

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