Exclusive: British aid worker risks his life to save people in Syrian city of Aleppo

  • Report by ITV News Correspondent Paul Davies

A convoy led by a British aid worker has successfully made its way to the Syrian city of Aleppo, highlighting the dangers along the narrow corridor into the besieged city, ITV News can reveal.

Despite the recent breaking of the siege, the extent of the dangers have kept most of the badly needed assistance stranded outside.

Tauqir 'Tox' Sharif spent five days attempting to reach the city, driving an old ambulance from the UK as part of a three-vehicle convoy carrying much-needed food and medicine for an area that has been under siege since the start of July.

Mr Sharif, from East London, had to camouflage the yellow vehicle in mud to try to avoid attack.

As he drove through the ravaged streets "scared" for his life, he caught on camera explosions adding to the devastation that has left the city in ruins.

"Look there's been an explosion as we're driving down this road into Aleppo," said Tox, pointing out of the window of his battered van.

"You can see the whole place is smashed. And at the same time there's been an explosion just on the next street from us."

"It's really important to understand that it is not safe bringing aid into Aleppo. Look at this road, it is completely smashed. Everywhere, look at the cars, look at the shrapnel. There are planes in the sky right now. We're being hit. Look at the smoke."

The danger of the task he has undertaken becomes all too apparent, when loud bangs can be heard as the traffic grinds to a halt at a tunnel on the approach to Aleppo.

The camera swings around inside the gloomy tunnel, and appears to show men with guns firing right behind them.

They escape. For now.

Tox soon has to abandon his battered van after the convoy is hit by a cluster bomb.

On the approach to Aleppo, the devastation shows no sign of letting up.

"Look at this place man, look at this place," says an exasperated Tox on the back of a pick-up truck.

"You can see this is what we have to do to get aid into those people that are being choked."

On Friday, after five days of trying, Tox's aid convoy finally reaches Aleppo.

A young boy can be seen clutching a few tins of food.

After delivering around three tonnes of aid, Tox spent Friday night in a local hospital.

Earlier this month, he documented for ITV News what it's like working in the dire conditions of Aleppo's hospitals, where the threat of being bombed and the battle to save lives with the most basic of equipment is constant.

At around 6.30 am on Saturday morning, the hospital was struck with six airstrikes, taking out three generators.

It came a week after the UN issued a fresh appeal for a 48-hour ceasefire in Aleppo to allow aid workers in to help the two million people in desperate need.

  • Caught on camera: Aleppo hospital hit by airstrikes

"We've just been hit at the hospital," Tox shouts in horror, as he films the immediate aftermath outside his window.

Running down the stairwell, he emerges onto a street filled with smoke and dust.

"We're being targeted right now, the whole world needs to know, that hospitals are being hit" Tox says, making his way through the rubble.

"Civilians are being killed, you can hear children screaming and crying.

"We've been here less than 24 hours and the hospital's been hit. We're covered in dust. The hospital now has no power. One person has been killed and a small child injured."