© 2019 European Association of Social Anthropologists In response to the Syrian conflict, the biggest humanitarian challenge since the Second World War, aid organisations have set up large-scale cross-border operations. Aid convoys and workers within Syria have become targets, forcing most operations to be carried out remotely from the Turkish border city of Gaziantep, a ‘little Aleppo’ hosting more than 300,000 Syrians. This produces a transnational humanitarian social field embedded in historical, political and economic relations. Grounded in ethnographic fieldwork among aid workers and organisations providing relief assistance remotely, this article analyses the production of humanitarian remoteness, both rhetorically and in practice, shaped by remote technologies and the division of labour. In the case of Syria, the normalisation of remote practices and the dependency on local aid workers and organisations ultimately increases the distance between donors and beneficiaries inside Syria, although it reinforces the illusion of control among aid managers.
- aid workers
- humanitarian remoteness
- humanitarian transnational social field
- remote management