September 20, 2016 - 11:30 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Syria's ceasefire has faltered further after an aid convoy was hit by airstrikes, with activists saying at least 12 people were killed in the attack, mostly truck drivers and Red Crescent workers, the Associated Press reports.
The strikes late on Monday, September 19 came just hours after the Syrian military declared the week-long U.S.-Russian brokered ceasefire had failed. The United States said it was prepared to extend the truce deal and Russia — after blaming rebels for the violations — suggested it could still be salvaged.
It was not clear who was behind the attack, which sent a red fireball into the sky in the dead of night over a rural area in Aleppo province. Both Syrian and Russian aircraft operate over Syria, as well as the U.S.-led coalition that is targeting the Islamic State group.
UN officials said the UN and Red Crescent convoy was delivering assistance for 78,000 people in the town of Uram al-Kubra, west of the northern city of Aleppo.
Initial estimates indicate that about 18 of the 31 trucks in the convoy were hit, as well as the Red Crescent warehouse in the area, AP says.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an activist group that tracks the civil war, said at least 12 were killed in the attack, mostly truck drivers and Red Crescent workers. The Syrian Civil Defense, the volunteer first responder group also known as the White Helmets, confirmed that casualty figure.
UN Humanitarian Chief Stephen O'Brien 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 international humanitarian law."
The convoy, part of a routine interagency dispatch operated by the Syrian Red Crescent, was hit in rural western Aleppo province. The White Helmets first responder group posted images of a number of vehicles on fire and a video of the attack showed huge balls of fire in a pitch black area, as ambulances arrive on the scene.