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Aleppo: Scores killed in airstrikes targetting UN aid convoy

Russian strike on aid convoy in Azaz, November 2015 [File photo: Anadolu]

Date of publication: 19 September, 2016

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Airstrikes in Aleppo province killed at least 22 Red Crescent [SARC] volunteers Monday, including a senior official, as well a number of civilians, local sources said.
Suspected Syrian regime and Russian airstrikes in Aleppo province killed at least 22 Red Crescent [SARC] volunteers, including a senior official, as well as killing and injuring a number of civilians, local sources said late on Monday.

The strikes also damaged trucks carrying supplies. The attack was later confirmed by the UN.

The renewed regime bombardment of rebel-held parts of Aleppo, broken earlier by The New Arab and described by sources as relentless, follows the collapse of a fragile ceasefire in place since Monday.

"Russian warplanes targeted an international aid convoy escorted by SARC, killing 22 volunteers," local activist Mohammad al-Halabi told The New Arab. Halabi confirmed the dead included SARC's chief in Aleppo province.

According to Reuters, the aid convoy was struck while traveling to Orem, in Aleppo governorate. The agency quoted a United Nations spokesman late on Monday.

The spokesman could not confirm if it was an airstrike. Syrian or Russian warplanes bombed aid trucks near Aleppo late on Monday after a fragile week-long ceasefire ended, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported.

The aid convoy of at least ten trucks was believed to have been carrying tonnes of much-needed humanitarian supplies and food from the UN. Reports suggest the aircraft doubled back after attacking the convoy and targeted rescue workers arriving on the scene.

Syria's army announces the end of the freeze on fighting that began at 7pm (1600 GMT) on September 12, 2016, in accordance with the US-Russia agreement
Regime renews onslaught

Elsewhere, airstrikes have targeted at least five neighbourhoods in the rebel-held east of Aleppo city, after the Syrian regime declared the end of the ceasefire.

The bombing on Monday evening has trapped civilians in destroyed buildings, and the "White Helmets" civil defence volunteers are searching for survivors under the rubble, a resident told The New Arab.

Artillery shelling was also reported to the south of the city.

The freeze on fighting brokered by the United States and Russia lasted a week.

Syria's armed forces on Monday blamed rebel groups for its failure.

"Syria's army announces the end of the freeze on fighting that began at 7pm (1600 GMT) on September 12, 2016, in accordance with the US-Russia agreement," the statement carried by state news agency SANA said.

It said rebel groups "did not commit to a single element" of the deal.

A contributor to The New Arab based in Aleppo reported at least five regime air raids in the space of ten minutes at around 8:00pm, not long after the end of the ceasefire was announced.

The truce had come into force on the evening of September 12.

The main battlefronts subsequently saw a marked reduction in violence, but clashes broke out late last week in the central provinces of Hama and Homs, as well as east of Damascus.

The deal was further strained by US-led coalition strikes on Syrian army positions in the east that killed dozens of government soldiers, which Washington said was not intentional.

On Sunday, the cessation of hostilities was hanging by a thread after a fresh wave of air raids hit rebel-held districts of the battleground city of Aleppo, killing one woman.

These images sent from east Aleppo earlier on Monday by journalist Zouhir al-Shimale show eerily deserted streets as the Syrian armed forces declared the end of the ceasefire.

Zouhir told The New Arab that residents, who have been under regime siege despite the ceasefire, see "no clear vision for the near future in the city". Just two hours later, the bombing began again in earnest.

Agencies contributed

deserted aleppo

Deserted Aleppo

Deserted Aleppo

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