Wings on Wheels

From the November 2013 issue.

To aid victims of the ongoing Syrian crisis, a private convoy has delivered some 300 tonnes of humanitarian supplies.

Dilaver ‘Dila’ Cantürk is a jovial guy. The young truckie from Turkey has only just parked the all-new Mercedes-Benz Actros in a car park at the Austrian border to Hungary, but he is already out of the cab and dancing on the boardwalk. The radio is playing Turkish pop music, and Dila is chatting to a group of fellow drivers that just joined him on the sidewalk.

It’s hard to believe the group is slowly approaching the most talked-about war zone on the planet, but the men are about to deliver 11 semi-trailers worth of food and medical supplies to a refugee camp in the Syrian borderland. It’ll be the largest European humanitarian aid mission to the Middle East since the conflict broke out. 

The much-needed freight has been organised by German aid organisation Luftfahrt ohne Grenzen (LOG, also know as ‘Wings of Help’ outside Germany). Lead by ESA astronaut Dr Ulf Merbold, the organisation is specialised on providing relief supplies via air; but given the mere amount of food, medical equipment and blankets going to Syria, LOG decided to use road transport instead – labelling it ‘Wings on Wheels’.

In Istanbul, another three trucks will join Dila’s convoy, which was organised by Daimler subsidiary CharterWay and Turkish fleet Ekol in less than a fortnight. In fact, CharterWay allocated the Actros prime movers for the length of the trip and also paid for accommodation and food without much ado, while Ekol provided both trailing gear and staff.

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