From the news desk

AIF making progress in Syria

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As Syrians continue to grapple with a crippling civil war that has ravaged the country over the past few years, humanitarian relief organisation the Al-Imdaad Foundation (AIF) has stepped up its efforts to provide shelter and relief to those affected by the crisis. The foundation has set up base, and continues to provide relief at a camp on the border of Turkey and Syria.

Amongst the projects undertaken by the organisation is the building of a containerised village, as well as a bakery that will provide bread to thousands of Syrians struggling with food shortages in the country.

The containerised village is the second such initiative taken up by Al-Imdaad, with the group having officially opened a similar village on the outskirts of Aleppo last month. That village, brought about through the generous contributions from the Muslim community in South Africa, houses over 200 widows, and 500 orphans. The new containerised village is set to be built close by, in an area known as Siju, and will house a similar amount of widows and orphans. In addition to that, Al-Imdaad has also built a tent village on the outskirts of Idbli city, where 425 Syrian refugees currently reside.

Discussing the recently established bakery near Aleppo, Al-Imdaad’s Mohamed Saloojee said it produced nearly 20 000 pita breads each day, meaning 20 000 Syrians were now benefiting daily from this initiative.

“It is operating on a free basis, and there is no fee for the bread at all,” he told VOC Drivetime.

On the civil war itself, Saloojee said they had received eye witness accounts from people within Syria, of some of the worst bombings in the country since the crisis unfolded in 2011. The target of these attacks according to him, were innocent civilians, who were being attacked with barrel bombs. He suggested these bombs were containing chlorine gas, and said it contradicted every international law regarding warfare.

“Over the last month, throughout Syria the bombings have been quite severe and extremely extensive on the Syrian public. With that comes challenge for the people and the various NGO’s, specifically in sustaining their projects going forward,” he said. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)

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