Aleppo has been under siege for about a hundred days. Food stocks are running out. Price are up 20-fold. Medical and civil defence equipment destroyed by regime and Russian bombing cannot be replaced. The injured are sent home without even painkillers and the dead are carried to graveyards on food carts.
Parachutes have been used by the Russian and Syrian air forces to drop bombs, such as the parachute-retarded ODAB-500PM, on civilian areas of the besieged city. Parachutes could be used to send urgently needed food and medical aid instead.
Aleppo needs immediate humanitarian and medical assistance. The only solution is to help remotely by deploying a Joint Precision Airdrop System (JPADS). It uses cargo planes that can carry approximately 20 packages, each of about 500 kgs. The aircraft can fly at an altitude of up to 35,000 feet and makes their drops from as much as 100 kilometers from their targets. Every unit is equipped with a camera and a navigation system that can be controlled from the plane. Its margin of error is only 50-75 meters. This system has been used by the United States and Britain since 1993.
Over 120 members of the British Parliament have urged their government to authorise airdrops. But when Labour MP Alison McGovern read out a statement by The White Helmets calling “to airdrop aid to provide urgent relief to the starving civilians trapped,” Tory government minister Tobias Ellwood questioned if this was the best and safest way. We actually know that JPADS are both feasible and very safe.
As politicians debate, civilians in Aleppo die of hunger and their wounds. There has been a shameful indifference towards imposing a no-fly zone that could still save thousands of lives. Let’s not make safe airdrops of aid another missed opportunity. We need citizens of the free world to urge their governments and representatives to act now. We ask you to join our call: #JPADS_For_Aleppo.
Abdulrahman has a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Aleppo. He is currently based in Gaziantep, working for a Syrian NGO. He asked for his last name not to be revealed for security reasons.
Amr Shayah has a BA in Aviation Engineering from the University of Aleppo. He has been part of Syria’s civil society since the beginning of the uprising. As field coordinator for northern Syria, Project Tamkeen, he works closely with the Free Aleppo Governorate Council and other community members.
Editor: AlHakam Shaar, The Aleppo Project