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21 September, 2016

Syria, Russia deny responsibility for aid convoy attack

The United Nations said at least 18 trucks in a 31-vehicle convoy were destroyed late Monday as they came under attack while en route to deliver humanitarian assistance to the hard-to-reach town of Urum al-Kubra.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said in a statement that the airstrike killed around 20 people including one of its staff members.

On Tuesday, Syria's army denied bombing the aid convoy, with the official news agency SANA quoting an unidentified military source as dismissing the Western media claims.

"There is no truth to media reports that the Syrian army targeted a convoy of humanitarian aid in Aleppo province," the source said.

Additionally, Russia’s TASS news agency carried remarks by Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, Igor Konashenkov, as he rejected the allegations against Moscow.

"The air forces of Russia and Syria did not conduct any strikes against the UN aid convoy in the southwestern outskirts of Aleppo," he said.

Konashenkov further noted that the fire that tore through the aid convoy came "strangely” at the time that militants “were carrying out a large-scale attack on Aleppo."

US State Department spokesman, John Kirby, said in a statement that Washington would raise the issue of the attack directly with Moscow, claiming that the destination of the convoy was known to the Damascus government and the Russian Federation.

Meanwhile, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O'Brien said that if Monday’s incident was found to be deliberate, "it would amount to a war crime".

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