We tried to save 150 people in Aleppo from 5,000 miles away

January 9, 2017
We tried to save 150 people in Aleppo from 5,000 miles away

 

Article in The Washington Post features Carr Center's Senior Fellow Steven Livingston.

"With Russian and Syrian forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad’s regime rapidly closing in, the situation for those trapped in eastern Aleppo in the first week of December was growing grimmer by the hour. It was especially dire for the White Helmets, a Syrian first-responders group that had won international acclaim for its humanitarian work, including a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize. The Assad regime held a different view, describing the group as rebels and terrorists.

On Dec. 8 at 3:30 p.m. in Boston, one of the first messages from the White Helmets to reach researchers at Harvard University’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy and the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative said that “three gas bombs have been dropped in the area within the last two hours and they [the White Helmets] feel they have less than 48 hours to evacuate before they are seized.” The Harvard group was asked to help find an escape route out of Aleppo for the White Helmets and their families, about 150 people in all.

How could Harvard scholars sitting in Cambridge, Mass., help 150 people find their way out of a war zone? We hoped it could be done with commercial remote-sensing satellites."

Read the full article in The Washington Post.

Steven Livingston is a senior fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policyand a professor at George Washington University.

Jonathan Drake is a senior program associate with the Geospatial Technologies Project at the American Association for the Advancement of Science.