14:20 GMT +315 October 2019
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    Students in Tula pose for a photo in front of over 500 boxes of gifts for children in Syria

    Russian Students Gather 45 Tons-Worth of Holiday Joy for Syrian Children

    © Photo : Press service of the Tula Region government
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    Through the month of December, students from across Russia participated in a donation drive to collect gifts for Syrian children. The effort, organized under the 'Children of Russia to Children of Syria' campaign, has culminated in the Russian military delivering over 45 tons-worth of presents to the war-torn country in time for the holidays.

    On Tuesday, a Defense Ministry spokesman confirmed that about 45 metric tons of gifts have been delivered during the course of the campaign, including individualized greetings and a wide variety of presents, which differed from region to region.

    For example, the spokesman said, "students in the Kursk and Vologda regions…collected over a thousand boxes with gifts, including traditional crafts, postcards, and stationery, but also keepsakes specific to those regions."

    Children from the icy northern city of Vologda are reported to have sent a variety of handicrafts, including birch bark boxes, soft toys made out of wool, and ceramic trinkets. Their counterparts from Kursk in the country's southwest, meanwhile, purchased and made gifts featuring the traditional symbol of that region – the Kursk nightingale. 

    Russian children send 40 tons of holiday gifts to children in Syria.

    The gifts, collected all through the month of December, were gathered at the Chkalovsky Airbase outside Moscow, from where they have since been flown to Hmeymim Airbase in northwest Syria's Latakia province. A portion of the gifts was immediately delivered to a school in Tartus, where soldiers from the Russian Center for Reconciliation handed them out students.

    Speaking to journalists, Tartus-based Hashinm Yousef School director Asif Asaad said that the gifts will allow young Syrians to get into the spirit of the holidays. "This raises their morale, and the holiday takes on a positive note. Moreover, this year the New Year and the birthday of the Prophet (one of the major Muslim holidays), will take place close together," the director explained.

    On December 25, a military airplane left Novosibirsk with 4 tons of gifts from the people of Omsk to the children of Syria.

    Thanking Russia for all its help, Asaad stressed that "in this age of evil and injustice, children are continuing to study, to acquire knowledge, and to do everything they can to build a bright future for Syria in the near future. We are grateful to Russia for all the efforts it is making in our country in the military, humanitarian and humanist sense."

    The 'Children of Russia to Children of Syria' campaign has enjoyed the support of organizations such as the Suvorov Military School and the Nakhimov Naval Academy, as well as schools from over a dozen Russian regions. Gift bags include something handmade, such as a postcard, applique or an earthenware or plush toy.

    Students also packed in drawings, poems, and New Year greetings. The messages were mostly written in Russian, but the hope is that the positive messages contained within can transcend the language barrier. Gifts also included warm clothing, school supplies, and traditional toys.

    We supported the 'Children of Tula to Children of Syria campaign'; Children from School #5 wrote letters and made souvenirs for their Syrian counterparts.

    Orenburg residents collected tons of presents for Syrian children; residents of the regional center sent the gifts to Syria for the New Year.

    Bailiff's office in Kuzbass [Siberia] took part in the Children of Russia to Children of Syria campaign, collecting children's clothes, blankets, toys and sporting goods.

    The humanitarian campaign was first conceived by cadets in Tula Region. The young people appealed to the region's governor for help in collecting the gifts. In less than a week, the campaign went viral, and was joined by youth organizations, schools and students nationwide. Earlier this month, students from Tula sent off over 500 boxes of presents to the region's local military airport.

    Children from the Tula Region have sent presents to children in Syria.

    From children of Tula Region to the children of Syria

    The 'Children of Russia to Children of Syria' campaign is a take-off of another recent aid campaign, the 'Children of Russia to Children of Donbass' effort, which was created last year amid the civil war in the eastern Ukrainian region.

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