Russian airstrikes target aid trucks near Syrian-Turkish border

Russian airstrikes target aid trucks near Syrian-Turkish border
Video: Russia continues airstrikes in Syria unabated Wednesday and Thursday, hitting aid trucks carrying Turkish supplies in Azaz, a day after Turkey downed a Russian fighter jet near its border.
4 min read
26 November, 2015
At least seven people died, and ten were injured after an apparent Russian airstrike targeted an aid convoy in northwestern Syrian town of Azaz near a border crossing with Turkey on Wednesday, activists told al-Araby al-Jadeed.

Russia also conducted new strikes near Azaz on Thursday, targeting the town of Saramda.


On Tuesday, Turkey had downed a Russian fighter plane as it allegedly flew into its airspace from Syria, sparking a major crisis between the two countries.

"Russian warplanes bombed a garage housing trucks loaded with commercial and aid supplies from Turkey in the town of Azaz, close to the Bab al-Salama border crossing," Abdul-Razzaq Mustafa, a local activist, told al-Araby al-Jadeed.

Footage filmed at a crossing on the Syrian side of the border with Turkey's southern province of Kilis showed lorries burning.

The head of the rebel-run border crossing said separately that the airstrikes killed seven lorry drivers.

Anadolu news agency reported that 20 lorries were targeted, which were carrying cement and iron brought from Turkey in a regular procedure.

Serkan Nergis from the Humanitarian Relief Foundation [IHH] said a civil defence unit from his group in Azaz helped locals to extinguish the trucks.

Trucks were probably carrying aid supplies or commercial materials, Nergis added.

"Our teams helped extinguish the fire... The trucks do not belong to us and there is no information on who bombed them," Mustafa Ozbek, an Istanbul-based official from the IHH, told Reuters.


The aid worker who filmed the aftermath initially said it appeared that aid trucks had been targeted.

Meanwhile, a US official said he was "aware of reports that a convoy of humanitarian relief vehicles was hit by an airstrike today in the vicinity of Azaz."

The official noted that no coalition planes had been near the area for the last 24 hours.

"We are continuing to monitor the situation to determine all of the facts behind the incident," he said.

Russian strikes in Palmyra

Russian warplanes resumed their sorties Thursday morning, targeting areas in the Aleppo countryside all the way to Palmyra in the eastern Homs province, as well as near the border with Turkey.

In the meantime, intense fighting continues in the northern Latakia countryside between regime forces and militias, and rebels.

Activists in Aleppo reported civilian casualties from an apparent Russian strike Thursday morning near the village of Owaijel in the western countryside.

Russian warplanes struck parts of Islamic State-held Palmyra as well, according to activists at the Homs Media Centre.

The strikes hit the western approaches of the ancient city, in parallel with intermittent clashes between regime forces and IS militants.

However, no advances by either side were reported.

In Latakia, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights [SOHR] reported continued heavy fighting between regime forces and Lebanese Hizballah, and Syrian rebel groups and Turkmen militias backed by Islamist factions including the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front.

Regime forces reportedly advanced on the Sheikh Mohammad hill in the northern countryside as a result of the fighting.

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Rebels block regime advances near Damascus

Heavy fighting had also continued throughout Wednesday night between regime forces and opposition factions in the southern Aleppo countryside, said Bahaa al-Halabi, an activist.

In nothern Aleppo, the Islamist Ahrar al-Sham movement said it downed a regime reconnaissance plane in a statement posted on its Twitter account.

In the Idlib countryside, several civilians, including children, were reportedly killed in Russian strikes on a school in the town of Jisr al-Shughur, according to local sources.

In Daria, west of Damascus, where the regime forces continued to bombard rebel-held areas with barrel bombs, there were reports of failed attempts by the Syrian army to storm the town.

Moscow intensified its strikes in Syria after IS claimed it brought down a Russian passenger plane over Egypt last month, killing all 224 people on board.

Russia began its intervention in Syria in late September, claiming to be targeting IS, but it has mostly bombed Syrian rebels fighting the regime, including groups backed by the West and classed as moderate.

Russia's intervention alongside the regime of Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian civil war has also reportedly caused scores of civilian casualties.