Comment by the Information and Press Department on an attack on a humanitarian convoy in Syria

Submitted on Wed, 09/21/2016 - 13:16

At about 8 pm local time September 19, an incident whose circumstances have not yet been completely clarified, took place in Urum al Kubra, southwest of Aleppo. A convoy with humanitarian aid, that had reached storage warehouses by prior agreement between official Damascus and the UN, was being unloaded when it came under fire from an unspecified source. People were killed and wounded, including officials from the Syrian Arab Red Crescent who were escorting the consignment, and 18 lorries were seriously damaged.

The incident took place in an area controlled by illegal paramilitary units and located about seven kilometres from the site of active hostilities that resumed September 19 after Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists launched a large offensive against Syrian government forces’ positions. It should be noted that the leaders of certain illegal paramilitary units have repeatedly rejected and hampered the passage of humanitarian convoys in Syria. When the passage of this convoy was being coordinated, not all militant leaders welcomed the plan to deliver humanitarian relief aid. With this in mind, the Russian military used drones that monitored the humanitarian convoy until its arrival at the final destination on the afternoon of September 19.

We indignantly reject the attempts by some foreign sponsors of illegal armed groups and terrorists in Syria to blame the Russian Aerospace Forces and the Syrian Air Force for allegedly “bombing” the humanitarian convoy.  According to “eyewitnesses” from the White Helmets organisation that operates on militant-controlled territories and which is often quoted by the Western media, air strikes commenced, and some activists reportedly heard the sound of helicopter engines.

It appears that these questionable accusations, which are not backed by any facts, also aim to divert attention from the strange “mistake” made by pilots of the US-led anti-ISIS coalition on September 17 when coalition planes bombed Syrian government forces near Deir ez-Zor.

Russian military authorities are conducting an investigation, using objective verification systems, to clarify the details of the incident that took place in Urum al Kubra on the evening of September 19. At the same time, we state with all responsibility that neither Russian, nor Syrian aviation has conducted any strikes against the UN humanitarian convoy on the southwestern outskirts of Aleppo.