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Mississauga man works to deliver aid to Syria

July 30, 2014
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A massive shipping container full of donated rice, diapers, formula, children’s toys and other goods will start a long trip to war-torn Syria on Wednesday.

The UN has declared that Syria is experiencing the worst humanitarian crisis in the world and the container’s final destination will be to one of the most dangerous places on the globe.

Despite the risk, Syrian-Canadian Tarif Awa — a Mississauga food wholesaler — will travel with the container from Turkey to the Syrian border and into a northern town just west of Aleppo early next week.

“This is just something that I have to do. If I was scared, I would stay home,” he said.

The ship leaves Montreal Wednesday morning and will deliver its cargo to a Turkish port next week. Awa will bring the goods into Syria by truck.

Once there, he will work to disperse the goods to thousands of families sleeping in badly-damaged houses, abandoned schools and other rundown buildings. Many have little more than the clothes on their backs.

According to the UN, there are nearly 3 million registered Syrian refugees. Inside the country, the economy and infrastructure have collapsed after years of civil war.

Awa’s efforts would be considered a serious crime by the Bashar al-Assad regime. If captured Awa would be jailed. It is not unimaginable that he would be killed.

Awa said that he must deliver the shipments himself because it is the only way to ensure they will arrive safely and go to the right people.

“There is a lot of stuff to give, we have about 55 tonnes of rice, and about five tonnes of other commodities like sugar or tea and oil,” he said. “Things have been stolen before.”

Awa said he wishes the Canadian government would do more to help the country.

“It is hard to imagine how the international community has stood by and watched this all happen.”

Awa was there just two months ago and recalled hearing shelling and bombs going off through the day and night.

“The bombing is indiscriminate, is non-stop and is killing so many people every day,” he said.

Article source: http://www.torontosun.com/2014/07/29/aid-ship-bound-for-syria

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