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