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Syrians Hail Viva Palestina ConvoySalem-News.com
A Hamas official said the convoy's launch is a crucial initiative to ending the Israeli siege into Gaza Strip.
(DAMASCUS, Syria WB) - The Viva Palestina Convoy, starting its journey from London to support the Palestinian people and break Israel's siege of Gaza Strip, arrived Sunday in Syria, passing through the Turkish border of Kilis in the southeast region of Turkey.
The car convoy, sent off by large crowds, was welcomed with great interest on the Syrian border. Senior Hamas officials, including Usama Hamdan, the representative in Lebanon, also participated in the welcoming ceremony.
It has been one year since Israel's attacks over Gaza. Israel launched on Dec. 27 a massive offensive there that killed nearly 1,500 Palestinians, a third of them children, and wounded more than 5,000.
1.5 million Gazans have lived under a heavy Israeli siege for a long time.
Viva Palestine, formed in January, sent convoys to Gaza earlier this year -- the UK convoy in February and the US convoy in July.
Syrians flocked to greet the aid convoy, waving Palestinian flags.
A Hamas official said the convoy's launch is a crucial initiative toward ending the Israeli siege into Gaza Strip.
"If anything good happens in Palestine, Turkey would have a great contribution in that." He added, "I hope the siege will be lifted."
IHH Chairman Bulent Yildirim, who organized the convoy's passing in Turkey, said at the gathering, "Syrian brothers welcomed us with great interest. We hope that we will break the siege with prayers and this interest."
Living up to its motto, "A Lifeline From Britain to Gaza", the international convoy aims not only to break the illegal siege imposed by Israel and send necessities into Gaza, but also wants to highlight the causes and results of wars, in view of peace.
The Turkish convoy consisting of 80 cars, joined the British 80-vehicle convoy and 47 vehicles from the United States that are expected to participate in the convoy.
The Rafah crossing with Egypt, Gaza's sole border crossing that bypasses Israel, rarely opens - as Egypt is under immense US and Israeli pressure to keep the crossing shut.
Egypt draws anger, insisting on not opening the only Gaza border crossing, leaving Gazans desperate to digging tunnels underground and risking their lives since 2007.
The convoy is heading to the Syrian capital of Damascus and the next country that they will cross is Jordan, hoping Egyptian permit to allow the crossing.
The convoy is expected to arrive in Gaza on December 27. A giant march also is planned in the land that is still considered to be under Israeli occupation as Israel controls air, sea and land access to the Strip.
After this march, all the vehicles that comes with the convoy will be donated to the Palestinian people.
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