The Daily Beast reports: The international reaction to Monday night’s devastating attack on an aid convoy in the Syrian town of Urem al-Kubra has been swift and furious. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in an unusually forthright speech at the General Assembly, described the attack as “savage and apparently deliberate.” He concluded by saying the fate of Syria could not depend on the “future of one man,” namely Bashar al-Assad.
According to a statement released Wednesday by the Free Syrian Army, 31 people in total died—19 civilians and 12 aid workers. The director of the local branch of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC), Omar Barakat, was among those killed. At least 18 trucks carrying humanitarian aid were destroyed, along with a SARC warehouse and a health clinic.
While aid agencies are naturally hesitant to ascribe direct blame, suspicion fell at once upon the Assad regime and Russia, which are the only air powers operating in this area of Syria.
The Russian Ministry of Defense has gone to great lengths to deflect blame, even claiming that video of the aftermath of the attack shows no sign of damage from an air strike, and suggesting the convoy was attacked by Syrian rebel fighters on the ground. To lend weight to the latter scenario, the MOD released drone footage of a pickup truck towing what it said was a mortar, moving past the convoy in rebel-held territory.
The Russians also have claimed the trucks might have been destroyed by spontaneous combustion.
However, there is a mounting body of evidence that makes it clear the Syrian regime and, in particular, the Russian military, hold responsibility for the atrocity. [Continue reading…]
Bellingcat provides more analysis on the attack.