Syrian Civil Defence, US: Russia, regime attacked aid convoy

Syrian Civil Defence, US: Russia, regime attacked aid convoy
2 min read
21 September, 2016
Russian and regime warplanes confirmed by Civil Defence/US officials as behind the "deliberate attacks" that targeted a UN-Red Crescent [SARC] convoy on Monday night, killing scores of volunteers and civilians.
US: Russian bombers were in the area at the moment the convoy was attacked [Anadolu]
Russian and regime warplanes were behind the "deliberate attacks" that targeted a UN-Red Crescent [SARC] convoy on Monday night, killing scores of volunteers and civilians, the Syrian Civil Defence confirmed in a statement late on Tuesday.

The planes struck the convoy as trucks unloaded aid in the town of Urum al-Kubra west of Aleppo city, then struck again as Civil Defence crews arrived on the scene, the statement added.

Fifteen SARC volunteers were killed in the "double-tap" strike, said the Civil Defence also known as the White Helmets, who were among the first responders, and more than 25 were injured. The strikes also destroyed most of the aid.

The statement described the attack as a crime, insisting the whereabouts of the convoy were known to all parties.

Earlier, the UN decided to suspend all aid convoys in Syria pending the re-evaluation of the security situation following the attack on the convoy in Urum al-Kubra.

Reuters
, quoting US officials, said on Tuesday that two Russian Sukhoi SU-24 warplanes were in the skies above an aid convoy in Syria at the precise time it was struck on Monday. The officials were citing US intelligence that has led them to conclude Russia was to blame.

According to a CNN report, the US has reached the preliminary conclusion that Russian warplanes bombed an aid convoy and warehouse belonging to SARC. 
"All the evidence we have points to that conclusion," one of the officials said.

The White House, meanwhile, said that Russia holds responsibility for the strike regardless of whether it was their planes that attacked.
"All of our information indicates clearly that this was an airstrike. That means there only could have been two entities responsible," Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said on Tuesday night, naming Moscow and the Syrian regime. He didn't specify which country's planes carried out the strike. 
"We hold the Russian government responsible for airstrikes in this airspace given their commitment under the cessation of hostilities was to ground air operations where humanitarian assistance was flowing," Rhodes said, referring to the terms of a recent ceasefire brokered between the US and Russia.

Russia has denied its aircraft or those of its Syrian government allies were involved in the incident, in which 18 trucks from a 31-vehicle convoy were destroyed. The strike appeared to deal a fatal blow to Syria's fragile week-old ceasefire.