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Bradford aid workers witness terror of Syrian conflict
Charity workers for a Bradford-based charity have spoken of their horror at witnessing the Syrian conflict first hand.
Programme officers for Human Relief Foundation (HRF) were trying to distribute food to refugees in a camp close to the Syrian border earlier this month when they witnessed plumes of black smoke billowing into the area just kilometres away.
The staff were from the charity’s office in Jordan and they said it was a painful confirmation of how close they were to the conflict.
Sanne Biesmans, a programme officer for HRF’s Jordan office, said that she was with her colleagues journeying to a refugee camp known as Cyber City when they witnessed evidence of conflict close to the road.
“This is a painful confirmation of just how close we are to the stark reality of what is happening in Syria,” she said. “It makes you shiver to visit the people in the camps and see the flames only miles away. It’s a hard reminder why they are here and why they need our help.
“People in the camps are no longer surprised to see smoke or hear gunfire, while we all stare with big eyes and take pictures with our phones.
“In some occasions, rockets have hit Jordanian soil too. A few weeks ago a rocket even hit a school in the north of Jordan. It makes you wonder if the refugees are really safe in camps just miles away from the border.
“The atmosphere in the camps is really hopeless.”
HRF is currently distributing food to 40,000 Syrian refugees a month in Jordan in partnership with World Food Programme.
The organisation, which has an office in Amman, has been working with Syrian refugees since the conflict began in March, 2011.