UN Aid Convoy Hit By Airstrike, Head Of Syrian Red Crescent Killed; Drone Footage Shows Convoy Before Attack

September 19, 2016
Picture via the Syrian Civil Defense, also known as The white Helmets, shows an aid convoy destroyed on September 19 in Syria

LIVE UPDATES: The previous post in our Putin in Syria column can be found here.

Russian Ministry Of Defense Drone Video Shows UN Aid Convoy Before It Was Destroyed In Syria

An aid convoy has been destroyed today southwest of Aleppo city, killing 12 people, and video released by the Russian Ministry of Defense appears to show that the convoy was under Russian drone surveillance some time before it was hit by an airstrike.

The BBC describes the impact of the suspected airstrike:

A UN spokesman said at least 18 of 31 trucks had been hit but could not confirm it was by an air strike.

UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, said it was an “outrage”.

“The convoy was the outcome of a long process of permission and preparations to assist isolated civilians,” he said in a statement emailed to Reuters.

The Syrian Red Crescent said the convoy had been making a routine delivery from Aleppo to rural rebel-held areas. Images posted online showed what appeared to be aid lorries engulfed by flames.

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Syria conflict: Aid convoy 'hit by air strike' near Aleppo – BBC News

Aid trucks have been hit by an air strike near the Syrian city of Aleppo, reports say, hours after the military declared the current cessation of violence was over. The Syrian Red Crescent said the convoy was making a routine delivery from Aleppo to rural rebel-held areas.

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Sep 20, 2016 01:59 (GMT)

Just a little while ago, The Interpreter saw this tweet by defense policy analyst Tobias Schneider:
In fact, those images match precisely a location on the eastern edge of Urm al-Kubra, near Kafr Naha:

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2016-09-19 22:06:51

The Interpreter can now confirm that a video, released by the Russian Ministry of Defense earlier today, does indeed show this location. After the 57 minute mark of the video below, the drone focuses on a convoy of trucks and other vehicles. 

As you can see, large trucks and smaller vehicles are present in the video: 

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2016-09-19 22:12:32

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2016-09-19 22:13:49

The drone appears to watch the vehicles for several minutes before moving on.

A video has been released by the Syrian Civil Defense, AKA The White Helmets, the non-profit organization that rescues Syrians after incidents such as these. According to the video’s description:

“Today, at 7:12 PM, regime helicopters targeted a Syrian Red Crescent warehouse in the town of Urem in the western countryside of Aleppo 

A total of four regime helicopters targeted it with 8 barrel bombs. 

Russian aircraft then stuck the location with cluster bombs, preventing the civil defense from reaching the location of the attack, giving first aid to those requiring it and removing the dead bodies.

Over 25 vehicles have been burnt and the fire has not yet been put out.

The head of the Syrian Red Crescent, Omar Barakat, was killed along with eight of his staff.

More than ten drivers have been burned to death.

The video was recorded this evening by a member of the civil defense at the location of the attack.”

Another video shot by the same people reportedly shows the car belonging to Omar Barakat, Head of the Syrian Red Crescent, who was reportedly killed in the strike, along with his entire team.

James Miller