U.S. officials: Russian planes bombed Aleppo aid convoy

Sep 21, 2016, 12:44 AM EDT
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov
(Source: United States Mission Geneva/flickr)

U.S. defense officials said that two Russian planes were involved in the airstrike that killed 12 people and destroyed 18 trucks of an aid convoy near the Syrian city of Aleppo on Monday. The Russian foreign ministry strongly denied the allegations, saying that America’s claims were short of facts. The “enormous humanitarian tragedy,” which shattered the seven-day truce in and around the war-ravaged Aleppo, prompted the United Nations to suspend all aid shipments into Syria on Tuesday.

Responding to the accusations of its involvement in the strikes, Russia said in a statement that the circumstantial evidence suggested that the aid vehicles were damaged by fire on the ground and not by an air raid, reports the BBC.  U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the strike was too sophisticated to have been carried out by the Syrian army.

The bitter exchange between Washington and Moscow comes as the U.N. Security Council is set to hold a high-level meeting to discuss the Syrian conflict on Wednesday, writes Reuters. Meanwhile, the U.N. revised its initial statement on Monday’s incident, replacing the phrase “air strikes” with “unspecified attacks.” U.N. humanitarian spokesman Jens Laerke clarified that the reference to air strikes was a drafting error.

Despite tensions over the attack on the aid convoy, U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, said that the “ceasefire is not dead,” adding that he will meet Russian foreign minister on Friday to discuss some specific steps, notes The Guardian