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Regardless of having been “round plane for thus lengthy” because of her private and household historical past, Rasha admits that she nonetheless will get a “coronary heart flutter” each she watches a airplane take to the skies. 

“It by no means will get bizarre being right here”, she stated. 


Preparing for another flight to Damascus.

Like mom, like daughter 

Early final yr, Rasha joined the World Meals Programme’s (WFP) UNHAS crew as an Aviation Assistant at Qamishli airport in Syria’s northeast. Previous to that, she’d labored in business aviation for seven years. 

The younger girl’s ardour for airports goes again to childhood days.  

“My mom served on the identical airport for 35 years. I vividly bear in mind her sporting her silver uniform with a white shirt and a silky maroon scarf neatly tied round her neck”, she recalled. 

However what fascinated Rasha most was her mom’s devotion.  

“Qamishli is just not an expensive airport because it lacks consolation and catering amenities, so it may be tough to overlook your flight and need to spend the night time right here. My mom assisted everybody she encountered unconditionally and to the most effective she may, and I needed to be her at some point”, she stated. 

Safer, faster journey 

Over years of disaster in Syria, battle traces have shifted dramatically, rendering roads linking Damascus to the 2 northern governorates of Qamishli and Aleppo harmful to use.  

The skies above turned probably the most viable approach for UN employees and humanitarian employees to journey between the capital and the nation’s north.  

And with home airways additional disrupted by the COVID pandemic, the 2020 launch of UNHAS in Syria has offered an important connection between employees and the folks it serves – turning a gruelling 16-hour drive into a one-hour flight.  

If it wasn’t for UNHAS, humanitarian employees would have confronted many challenges in accessing households in want”, Rasha stated. 

Immediately, UNHAS in Syria serves 39 totally different humanitarian organizations, not simply UN companies.  

Even with COVID-19 precautions strictly adopted, the airline service transports a mean of 350 passengers on its flights between Damascus, Aleppo and Qamishli. 

Humanitarian wants throughout Syria reached unprecedented ranges final yr making it extra vital than ever for employees to quickly and safely attain these in pressing want of help. 


Rasha works closely with colleagues visiting from Damascus.

WFP/Manal Alkalaji

Rasha works carefully with colleagues visiting from Damascus.

‘Humanitarian core’ 

At first, Rasha was most impressed by the airline’s excessive requirements, self-discipline and punctuality, however then she discovered a deeper which means to it. 

“At some point, my passengers have been all onboard for a flight to Damascus and we have been about to shut the gate when a person from one other humanitarian organisation rushed in along with his daughter who was in want of pressing medical evacuation to Damascus”, she recounted.  

When Rasha contacted UNHAS administration, she was instantly suggested to delay the flight till the person had finalized his needed paperwork. 

“My supervisor informed me: ‘Our existence is to serve these folks, so our gates can’t be shut earlier than them.’ That was the second when I noticed the humanitarian core of my work and it deeply moved me”, stated the employees member. 

United in delivering 

Along with folks, UNHAS additionally flies lifesaving medical help.  

In 2021 the airline transported essential medical gear, together with COVID-19 vaccines and mobility aids for folks with disabilities

“It was due to UNHAS that UN employees in Qamishli and their dependents have been vaccinated, because the vaccines and specialised medical employees needed to be transported all the way in which from Damascus”, Rasha stated proudly. 

With the onset of winter, she is aware of that her job will probably be tougher for months to return however acknowledges the affect of her work every day as colleagues and households are actually nearer collectively than ever earlier than.