Two US individuals have introduced an early warning alert system that warns Syrians of an incoming attack before the strike on the city happens, according to a report by Reuters.
The warning system, known as Sentry, estimates the plane’s trajectory and sends a warning, triggering Facebook and Telegram messages, Tweets and, most importantly, loud sirens throughout cities in opposition-held Syria, ahead of an attack.
The warning system was founded by two Americans, John Jaeger and his business partner, Dave Levin, after Jaeger had held a job working with Syrian civilians for the U.S. State Department.
“I recognized that the biggest threat to peace inside of Syria was the indiscriminate bombing of civilians,” Jaeger was quoted as saying. “We simply thought that there was more that the international community could and should do to warn civilians in advance of this indiscriminate violence.”
Their company, Hala Systems, says it has received funding from countries including Britain, Canada, the Netherlands and the United States as well as private donors.
The White Helmet rescue workers operating in opposition-held Syria work with Sentry to operate and maintain air raid sirens.
“Before, whenever there was bombardment, we wouldn’t have knowledge of a strike until the wounded reach us,” said Yousef, a 23-year old nurse in a field hospital outside Aleppo.
“But now with Sentry, we immediately find out through our mobile that a strike happened. So we know that it’s in this area, where there are civilians. So we know there are wounded for sure.” The hospital can notify doctors, make sure materials are prepped, and wait for the wounded.
In addition, the warning system has also helped indicate brief pauses during more sustained attacks, said Hala Systems co-founder Levin. During the offensive on Ghouta, near Damascus, earlier this year, civilians relied on the system to time their brief forays from basements and shelters to get food and water.
“That was a big relief for us, that we were actually having impact even when it’s raining bombs,” Levin added.