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UN aid convoy in Syria hit by airstrike

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Damascus: A UN humanitarian aid convoy in Syria was hit by airstrikes, UN officials said, as the Syrian military declared that the week-long US-Russian brokered ceasefire had failed.

With the truce apparently teetering, the US brushed off Damascus’ assertions and said it’s prepared to extend the agreement, while Russia — after blaming rebels for the violations — suggested it could still be salvaged, CBS News reported on Monday.

UN officials said the UN and Red Crescent convoy was delivering assistance for 78,000 people in the town of Uram al-Kubra, west of Aleppo city.

Initial estimates indicate that at least 18 of the 31 trucks in the convoy were hit, as well as the Red Crescent warehouse in the area.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 12 were killed in the attack, mostly truck drivers and Red Crescent workers. The Syrian Civil Defense, the volunteer first responder group also known as the White Helmets, confirmed that casualty figure.

Stephane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General told CBS News’ Pamela Falk: “Today, a UN and Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) inter-agency convoy was delivering assistance for 78,000 people in the hard-to-reach town of Urem Al-Kubra, Aleppo governorate, which is west of Aleppo city. Multiple sources have confirmed that the town was shelled this evening: Initial estimates indicate that at least 18 of the 31 trucks in the convoy were hit, as well as the SARC warehouse in Big Orem.”

“The situation,” Dujarric said, “continues to evolve and we are unable at this time to independently verify casualties.”

Local NGOs in Aleppo reported that Omar Barakat, Head of the Syrian Red Crescent, has been killed in the airstrike

–IANS

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