Shocked by the desperate plight of civilians in the besieged districts of Homs, citizens from other parts of Syria are risking their lives to smuggle in food and medicines.

Syrian rebels gather in front of the remains of a burnt military vehicle in Homs

Syrian rebels gather in front of the remains of a burnt military vehicle in Homs Photo: AP

By a Telegraph Correspondent in Aleppo

8:00PM GMT 26 Feb 2012

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Residents from Damascus and Aleppo told the Daily Telegraph of the secret operations to bring aid to those trapped in the bombardment.

Fearing punishment by the regime for helping the opposition, the medicines have to be hidden on the journey, explained Sana, 31, an Aleppo resident who has taken it upon herself to help.

“I travel by public minibus, hiding small amounts of medicines and money at the bottom of my bag,” said Sana, who has a nine year old son.

The road from Aleppo to Homs is strewn with checkpoints of the much feared Mukhabarat intelligence service. Stopping every vehicle, they compare identity cards against the now extensive list of people wanted for joining the Syrian opposition. Convoys of buses carrying Syrian troops are seen on the highway, along with military refuelling vehicles. Tanks are stationed strategically on bridges and in scrubland.

“If [the mukhabarat] found out, they would arrest me for helping the terrorists. But these are civilians,” said Sana. “They think anyone who opposes the government is a terrorist, so now Syria is a nation of terrorists.”