Syrian conflict: UN aid convoy hit by airstrike near Aleppo


September 20: After an airstrike hit a fleet of trucks carrying food to a rebel-held area near Syria's Aleppo city, the United Nations has suspended all aid convoys in the country. Syria's ceasefire collapsed on Monday, Sunday, after "the armed terrorist groups flouted this agreement", a statement from Syria said.

Syria's military declared a week-long ceasefire over on Monday and vowed to continue fighting, even as officials from the United States and Russian Federation met behind closed doors in Geneva to try to extend it.

"The terrorists have taken advantage of the ceasefire to amass themselves and continue to attack residential areas and military positions, mainly in the provinces of Hama, Qunaitera, and Aleppo", the military statement said. Both Syrian and Russian aircraft operate over the province, while the US -led coalition targets the Islamic State group in other parts of the country.

UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Stephen O'Brien said he was "pained and disappointed" that the convoy had yet to cross into Syria from Turkey.

Human activists and Syrian organizations criticized the United Nations decision of suspending aid convoys, saying that this decision will only affect Syrians in many provinces who are in desperate need for supplies.

"Our outrage at this attack is enormous. the convoy was the outcome of a long process of permission and preparations to assist isolated civilians", de Mistura said, in a statement emailed to Reuters by his spokeswoman in Geneva.

After Kerry went into more bilateral meetings, the State Department issued a statement to clarify the U.S. position and insist on the need for more consultations.

"Yesterday's attack is a flagrant violation of worldwide humanitarian law and it is unacceptable", Peter Maurer, president of the global Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said in a statement.

An airstrike has hit an aid convoy in Syria, reportedly killing at least 32 people - shortly after a week-long ceasefire came to an end.

According to a USA defense official, the leading theory is that the Syrian forces hit in the airstrike may have been conscripts or prisoners wearing civilian clothes, not regular Syrian Army uniforms.

The convoy was part of a routine interagency dispatch operated by the Syrian Red Crescent.

At least 18 of the 31 vehicles were struck as they were delivering assistance for 78,000 people in a rebel-held area.

At least 18 of 31 lorries in the convoy were hit, according to a United Nations spokesperson.

"All this was supposed to have been on that convoy, but I do not have a breakdown of what got destroyed and what did not get destroyed", he said.

Under the terms of their agreement, the United States was supposed to rein in opposition forces and Moscow was to ensure its ally Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad halted attacks.

The Assad regime has not admitted responsibility for the attack.

Late Monday, Russian military monitors told Interfax that members of the Syrian Conquest Front, the group formerly known as al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front, had launched a "large-scale offensive" on the southwestern outskirts of Aleppo, and that Syrian government forces were waging a defensive fight to prevent groups from breaking into the central part of the city.

"Yesterday's attack was a flagrant violation of global humanitarian law and it is unacceptable".

The convoy of trucks was stalled on the Turkish border for a week as necessary transport permits, from all sides in the war, were obtained.