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Published in Press Stream:
September 20, 2016

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Published in Stream:
September 20, 2016
Press by
The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Russia Denies Air Strikes On Aid Convoy Even Took Place, Claims Trucks Were Not Monitored
5 years
Stream: September 20, 2016
Publication: Putin in Syria
Russia Changes Story To Insinuate UN Aid Convoy Was Destroyed Because Of Proximity To "Terrorists"

As we have reported, a convoy of trucks unloading humanitarian aid in Urem al-Kubra, west of Aleppo, was bombed last night.

The Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) reported this morning that around 20 civilians and a SARC sub-branch director, Omar Barakat, were killed in the attack.

Syrian Civil Defense (known as the White Helmets) report that Syrian regime helicopters dropped bombs on the convoy as it was being unloaded at a SARC warehouse. According to the report, Russian aircraft subsequently attacked the site with cluster bombs, impeding rescue attempts.

Photos from the scene today make the extent of the devastation clear: 

Incredibly, the Russian Ministry of Defense not only denies any involvement in the strikes, but denies that the convoy was attacked at all.

Interfax reported this afternoon that General-Major Igor Konashenkov, spokesman for the MOD, said:

"We have carefully studied the so-called 'activists'' videos from the scene and have found no sign whatsoever of any kind of munitions striking the convoy. There are no corresponding craters, the vehicles have no damage to their bodies or structural fractures from the blast wave of air-launched munitions."

No structural damage to the vehicles?

Instead, Konashenkov claimed that the damage was all the result of the cargo catching fire, adding the insinuation that Syrian rebel fighters may have been responsible.

The MOD spokesman also claimed that the only party to have been aware of the convoys location were the rebels.

"At around 13:40 the entire humanitarian cargo was safely delivered to the end point, after which the Russian Center for the Reconciliation of the Warring Sides In Syria stopped monitoring the convoy. Further movement of the convoy was not monitored by the Russian side. All information on the location of the convoy was known only to the militants controlling these areas."

This is demonstrably false.

Yesterday afternoon RT ran a live stream on Facebook from the Russian MOD, relaying footage from a Russian drone.

The stream began at 15:17 local time (12:17 GMT). It is worth noting that due to daylight saving time in Syria, Moscow and Damascus are currently on the same time zone. Around an hour into the video, around 16:17 local, the drone is flying the road between Urem al-Kubra and Kafr Naha, just to the east.

As we reported last night, at around an hour into the video (16:17 local time), the video clearly shows a convoy of trucks, resembling that which was bombed, moving through the eastern edge of Urem al-Kubra, not far from the site of the attack.

Meanwhile the UN humanitarian aid agency has announced that it has suspended all aid delivery operations "pending further assessment of the security situation."

Set as default press image

U.N. suspends aid after convoy attack as Syria ceasefire collapses

GENEVA/BEIRUT The United Nations suspended all aid shipments into Syria on Tuesday after a deadly attack on a convoy carrying humanitarian supplies, as a week-old U.S.-Russian sponsored ceasefire collapsed in renewed violence. Washington said it was "outraged" by the apparent air strike that hit a 31-truck aid convoy late on Monday.

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Sep 20, 2016 14:15 (GMT)

-- Pierre Vaux