U.N. sus­pends aid con­voys fol­low­ing ‘sav­age’ at­tack

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - WEATHER -

BEIRUT >> The United States on Tues­day blamed Rus­sia for an overnight at­tack on an aid con­voy that killed 20 civil­ians as the U.N. an­nounced it was sus­pend­ing over­land aid de­liv­er­ies in Syria, jeop­ar­diz­ing food and med­i­cal se­cu­rity for mil­lions of be­sieged and hard-to-reach civil­ians.

Con­fu­sion con­tin­ued about who struck the con­voy, but the White House in­sisted it was ei­ther Rus­sia or Syria. White House deputy na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser Ben Rhodes said ei­ther way, the U.S. held Rus­sia re­spon­si­ble, be­cause it was Rus­sia’s job un­der the week-old cease­fire to pre­vent Syria’s air force from striking in ar­eas where hu­man­i­tar­ian aid was be­ing trans­ported.

“All of our in­for­ma­tion in­di­cates clearly that this was an airstrike,” Rhodes said, re­ject­ing the claim by Rus­sia’s De­fense Min­istry that a cargo fire caused the dam­age. Both Rus­sia and Syria have de­nied car­ry­ing out the bomb­ing.

Within one minute of the strike, the U.S. tracked a Rus­sian-made Su-24 di­rectly over the re­gion of the at­tack, U.S. of­fi­cials said. Even that rev­e­la­tion failed to defini­tively im­pli­cate Rus­sia be­cause both the Rus­sian and Syr­ian air forces fly the Su-24, although the U.S. of­fi­cials said there were strong in­di­ca­tions that the jet was flown by the Rus­sian mil­i­tary.

The of­fi­cials spoke anony­mously be­cause they were not autho­rized to com­ment pub­licly on the in­ci­dent.

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