SA volunteer in Syria killed in car accident

30 April 2013 - 03:33 By SCHALK MOUTON
A Syrian girl peeps through a window as the South African Gift of the Givers medical team leaves the Atma refugee camp to which she and her family have fled. Thousands of Syrians, their homes destroyed in the civil war, receive heath care from the team
A Syrian girl peeps through a window as the South African Gift of the Givers medical team leaves the Atma refugee camp to which she and her family have fled. Thousands of Syrians, their homes destroyed in the civil war, receive heath care from the team
Image: ESA ALEXANDER

A South African volunteer has been killed in war-torn Syria while serving with a humanitarian aid team.

Capetonian Hadji Mustapha Wilson, 61, a member of the Darul Islam relief mission to Syria, was killed in a car accident in the town of Azaz on Friday while delivering food and medicine to the Bab al-Salam refugee camp.

The aid mission was launched by the SA Muslim Judicial Council.

Wilson died on the day that a team of Gift of the Givers medical professionals landed at OR Tambo International Airport after working at a newly established hospital in Darkoush . Wilson was travelling with the 18-member team of volunteers to Azaz when the driver of their car lost control and drove into a ditch.

"There were three other members in the car. They were all injured and two of them [Hafez Sadiq and his brother Hafez Masood Isaacs, both from Pietermaritzburg] have been discharged from hospital," said Muslim Judicial Council spokesman Nabeweya Malick.

"The secretary-general of the council, Maulana Abdul Khaliq, was also injured. He is under observation in hospital."

Maulana Igsaan Hendricks, the president of the Muslim Judicial Council, denied social media reports that the convoy of which Wilson's car was part had been shot at.

Wilson's wife, Hadji Gafsa, though part of the mission to Syria, had stayed behind in Turkey. His three sons travelled to Turkey to help her return his body to South Africa.

"[Wilson's] body has been relocated to Turkey and is under the jurisdiction of the South African ambassador to Turkey. Arrangements are being made by the Depart of International Relations and Cooperation, the Humanitarian Relief Foundation and the South African ambassador to ensure the return of the body to South Africa," said Malick.

The town of Azaz is under the control of the Free Syrian Army, which is fighting the forces of President Bashar al-Assad.

According to UN Under Secretary-General, Valerie Amos, the humanitarian crisis in Syria has reached the "point of no return". More than 4.25million Syrians are displaced in their own country and a further 1.3million are refugees in neighbouring countries. The most urgent needs are those of people in opposition-held areas.

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