What’s it like to travel with an aid convoy in Syria?

Publié: 13 août 2014 12:18 CET

By Ibrahim Malla

It was 7am in Damascus and the morning light was heralding another hot summer day when we got the approval to send a convoy to Daraa. 16 trucks were ready to go, loaded full of food and other humanitarian aid. This was the first time in two years the Syrian Arab Red Crescent would be able to reach Daraa, 100 km south of the capital, due to the unrest in the area.

Everyone had gathered early that morning to wait calmly at the Red Crescent headquarters until we heard the negotiations had gone smoothly and we were OK to go – then we felt a great happiness and optimism amongst the volunteers.

The plan was to meet our people of Daraa branch 15km before the city, so they could lead us through the government and the opposition checkpoints, and take us to Daraa where the rest of the teams were waiting for us. In total we were transporting 16,000 parcels of aid from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. With such a huge operation, we were keen to get through as smoothly as possible.

After 90 minutes we finally reached Daraa and we met the rest of the teams from Daraa branch:  25 volunteers who would help us to unload the trucks. With them we reached our final destination: Alyadodeh in the West of Daraa.

The volunteers were excited to start unloading the trucks and we could see happiness in their faces: it was a hard job, but with the help of local people we unloaded the full 16 truck convoy of aid in just four hours, and at the end everybody felt satisfied and tanned after the working in the sun.


It was great team work but, more importantly, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent has gained the trust of all the parties in the area; they understand the importance of our neutrality and impartiality. Thanks to this new accord we could deliver 8,000 food parcels and 8,000 hygiene kits to help people in an area desperately in need of aid. 16 villages – or about 40,000 people – in Rural Daraa will receive aid from this distribution.

Ibrahim Malla is an audio-visual delegate working with the IFRC and SARC in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa.