Syria ceasefire falters after aid convoy hit by airstrikes

Syria ceasefire 1

United Nations aid chief Stephen O’Brien said he was “deeply concerned” by the incident and called on “all parties to the conflict, once again, to take all necessary measures to protect humanitarian actors, civilians, and civilian infrastructure as required by global humanitarian law”. The convoy was delivering aid for 78,000 people in the hard-to-reach town of Urm al-Kubra, he said.

Mr O’Brien said there is no excuse “for waging war on courageous and selfless humanitarian workers” and warned that if they were targeted deliberately “it would amount to a war crime”.

A United Nations spokesman in NY confirmed that at least one of its aid convoys, sent in coordination with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, was hit on the way to the Syrian city of Orum while carrying enough food and aid for 78,000 people.

Elsewhere at least 20 civilians, including a 1-year-old girl, were killed in fresh airstrikes on rebel-held parts of Aleppo city and surrounding areas, according to the Observatory.

Still, the army didn’t speak of any possible extension to the week-long truce, but accused the rebels of committing over 300 violations to the truce.

Dunford said the coalition has conducted thousands of strikes in the past two years with minimal loss of civilian life and without striking Russian or Syrian forces.

Aid agencies, including the Syrian Red Crescent (SARC), had earlier said they were carrying out deliveries in the Aleppo countryside.

“We are deeply shocked that humanitarian workers and missions have yet again suffered from the brutality of this conflict”, said Ingy Sedky, a spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross. The Syrian military could not immediately be reached for comment.

Rebel-held eastern Aleppo city, with hundreds of thousands of residents, has been cut off from aid deliveries since July, despite the ceasefire, making the situation more hard.

The SOHR reported civilian deaths from airstrikes in Idlib on Friday and in Aleppo on Sunday, though it didn’t identify the perpetrators.

The statement said the military forces have practiced high self-restraint, and responded in a few cases when it had to do so to silence the fire sources of the rebels.

The coordinator of Syria’s main opposition group said on Monday that the ceasefire never took hold and called on the world to put an end to the “criminality” of the Syrian government.

The cease-fire, which does not apply to al-Qaeda linked militants or the Islamic State, is meant to halt fighting between the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad and an array of rebels seeking to overthrow him.

Earlier Monday, Lt. Gen. Sergei Rudskoi of the Russian military’s General Staff said in a briefing that Damascus had fulfilled its obligations.

Rudskoi said the rebels violated the truce 302 times since it took effect a week ago, killing 63 civilians and 153 Syrian soldiers.

The opposition reported 254 violations by government forces and their allies since the truce started on September 12, and a senior Syrian opposition official declared the cease-fire “clinically dead”.

The current tensions come on the heels of the weekend air strike by the USA -led coalition on Syrian army positions near Deir el-Zour.

The ceasefire is the second negotiated by Washington and Moscow since Russian Federation joined the war in September 2015.

At least 32 people were killed and many more wounded in the northern province of Aleppo on Monday, in the first hours after a U.S.

The Pentagon previously said pilots believed they were striking Islamic State militants, who had operated in the area, and would not intentionally strike Syrian military forces.