Syrian conflict: Aid from Leicestershire being distributed to victims
Life-saving medical supplies and humanitarian aid from Leicestershire are being distributed into "safe" areas inside war-torn Syria.
They are being taken to field hospitals to treat the victims of the conflict after a relief convoy of vans and ambulances arrived at the Turkish border at the weekend.
The 16 vans and ambulances met at Leicester Forest East services on the M1 on September 21 before setting off on the 3,100-mile journey.
The convoy was organised by dozens of supporters of the Hand-in-Hand for Syria charity, which is now looking at sending regular aid to the area.
Trustee Omar Gabbar said he was delighted that the supplies had arrived safely and were getting through to the front line.
Mr Gabbar, a consultant orthopaedic and spine surgeon at University Hospitals of Leicester, said: "All the vehicles made it and are crossing over into Syria this week to treat patients and take the injured to the field hospitals which have been set up."
The vehicles, including six ambulances, were filled with supplies, medicines and equipment.
They also included warm clothing to help protect refugee families from the cold.
Syria has been embroiled in civil war after a series of uprisings against President Bashar al-Assad and charities, including the Libyan Red Crescent, are caring for an estimated 75,000 refugees on the borders.
Mr Gabbar said: "I want to say a big thank-you to everyone who took time out to buy and donate clothes. We have collected hundreds of items, a vital part of aid delivery.
"But much more is needed to help save lives as the conflict continues.
"We are hoping to continue to send regular convoys and we are working towards sending another on October 28."
Most of the vehicles and supplies on the convoy were donated by people from Leicestershire over the past six weeks.
The journey from Leicester to Syria took four days crossing Europe, through France and Italy, before a ferry passage to Greece and then by land through Turkey.
When they reached the Syrian border, they handed over the supplies to members of the Libyan Red Crescent – part of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
He said: "We also received sizeable donation from Turkish authorities which was very encouraging."
The project was organised in partnership with charity Save Life, Save the World.
Hanabi Alkhder, press officer for Hand-in-Hand for Syria, said: "We have focused particularly on sending medicines and medical equipment into Syria to support doctors working in civilian field hospitals.
"These secret facilities have been set up by local doctors in areas where it is too dangerous to take victims to government hospitals or where the hospitals have been closed down or destroyed."
Collections for the next convoy are being made. People can contact Mr Tarazi on 07990 743785 or visit the charity's storage depot at 20 Lenton Lane, in Nottingham.
For more information, visit: www.handinhandforsyria.org.uk