Aid con­voy at­tacked as Syria cease­fire col­lapses

The Myanmar Times - - World -

A CON­VOY de­liv­er­ing aid to Syr­i­ans in Aleppo prov­ince was hit by a deadly air strike hours af­ter the Syr­ian mil­i­tary de­clared an end to a week-long cease­fire, with an out­raged United Na­tions warn­ing it could amount to a war crime.

The UN said 18 trucks in the 31-ve­hi­cle con­voy were de­stroyed on Septem­ber 19 en route to de­liv­er­ing hu­man­i­tar­ian as­sis­tance to the hardto-reach town of Orum al-Kubra.

The Syr­ian Ob­ser­va­tory for Hu­man Rights said 12 Red Cres­cent vol­un­teers and driv­ers had died in the strike while UN aid chief Stephen O’Brian said ini­tial re­ports in­di­cated “many peo­ple” were killed or se­ri­ously wounded.

“If this cal­lous at­tack is found to be a de­lib­er­ate tar­get­ing of hu­man­i­tar­i­ans, it would amount to a war crime,” Mr O’Brian said.

The ob­ser­va­tory was un­able to con­firm if the planes re­spon­si­ble were Syr­ian or Rus­sian.

The UN and Syr­ian Arab Red Cres­cent hu­man­i­tar­ian mis­sion had sought to take ad­van­tage of the cease­fire, which col­lapsed on Septem­ber 19 as shells and bombs rained on Aleppo city and the sur­round­ing prov­ince.

The ob­ser­va­tory said a to­tal of 36 peo­ple had died in the vi­o­lence across the bat­tle­ground re­gion.

Syria’s mil­i­tary an­nounced the end to the truce ear­lier Septem­ber 19, ac­cus­ing rebels of more than 300 vi­o­la­tions and fail­ing to “com­mit to a sin­gle el­e­ment” of the US-Rus­sia deal.

The cease­fire, which came into force on Septem­ber 12, saw an ini­tial drop in fight­ing but vi­o­lence be­gan to es­ca­late late last week and the deal came un­der se­vere strain over the week­end.

The UN said yes­ter­day it had sus­pended all hu­man­i­tar­ian aid con­voys af­ter the air raid which killed a Red Cres­cent staff mem­ber and civil­ians.

As an “im­me­di­ate se­cu­rity mea­sure, other con­voy move­ments in Syria have been sus­pended”, Jens Laerke, spokesper­son for the UN hu­man­i­tar­ian agency, told re­porters in Geneva.

Aid is seen strewn across the ground in the town of Orum al-Kubra on the western Aleppo yes­ter­day, the morn­ing af­ter a con­voy de­liv­er­ing aid was hit by a deadly air

Photo: AFP

out­skirts of the north­ern Syr­ian city of strike.

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