UN suspends aid in Syria after convoy airstrike

The United Nations has suspended aid convoys in Syria after a deadly attack on humanitarian supply trucks in Aleppo, Syria on late Monday.

At least 20 civilians along with the local chief of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC), Omar Barakat, were killed as they were unloading trucks.

The trucks, which were carrying vital supplies of food and medicine and were meant to reach about 78,000 people were travelling to rebel-held areas in western Aleppo. The strike occurred hours after the Syrian military declared that the seven-day partial ceasefire was over.

The convoy, which was being escorted by the SARC was among the first to try to deliver aid to rebel-held areas under the ceasefire agreement that was brokered by the United States and Russia.

If it is discovered that the attack deliberately targeted humanitarian workers, it will be seen as a war crime, according to U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien. Russia has denied suggestions that their warplanes were the cause of the attack.

In a joint statement, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), express their anger over the horrific attack adding that it has deprived thousands of civilians of essential food and medical assistance.

Peter Maurer, the ICRC President called the attack a “flagrant violation of International Humanitarian Law.”

Syria is one of the most dangerous conflict areas for aid workers. During the past six years, 54 staff and volunteer members of SARC have been killed while doing their jobs.

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