Last updated: 10 March, 2012

Activists to launch fresh Syria aid mission

Syrian and international activists will make a fresh attempt to cross into Syria from Turkey with medical aid to mark the uprising’s March 15 anniversary, a report by the Anatolia news agency said on Saturday.

The planned mission comes after the activists’ “Freedom Convoy” was turned away in January.

“With the arrival of (activists) from various countries… we will try to cross into Syria via the Oncupinar border crossing on March 15,” Moayad Skaf, the group’s spokesperson, was quoted as saying.

Skaf said many activists from Saudi Arabia, the United States, Qatar and Turkey would also join them.

“We are trying to support our people in Syria. We want human rights associations to join us. We expect support from human rights associations worldwide,” Skaf told reporters at Gaziantep near the Syrian border.

Another activist, Omar Mushanweh, said that if they managed to cross into Syria, they would take humanitarian aid to the victims of President Bashar al-Assad’s deadly crackdown.

On January 12, a group of 200 activists from the “Freedom Convoy” attempted to enter Syria via Turkey but the convoy was initially stopped by Turkish police at a lay-by, around 15 kilometres (10 miles) from Oncupinar gate in the southeastern Turkish town of Kilis.

A delegation from the convoy which approached the border was later turned back by Syrian officials.

Turkey, once a close ally of Syria, has been at the forefront of international criticism of the Damascus regime’s bloody crackdown on protests which has claimed over 7,500 lives since the start of the uprising in mid-March last year, according to UN estimates.

Turkey has also become a haven for many Syrian opposition activists since the start of the uprising.