Syrian Peace Hopes Rattled by 2 Big Hits

Medical unit hit, after aid convoy, while US and Russia are sniping
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 21, 2016 9:45 AM CDT
A photo of an aid truck hit by an airstrike Tuesday in Syria.   (Aleppo 24 news via AP)

(Newser) – US and Russian diplomats say there's still hope of reviving a ceasefire in Syria, but developments on the ground suggest it would be a tall order. An overnight airstrike wiped out a mobile medical unit run by a French relief organization, reports the AP. At least five staffers from the International Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations were killed south of Aleppo, though it remains unclear who was behind the strike. It comes a day after what is shaping up to be a much bigger issue: An airstrike hit a humanitarian convoy delivering aid to Aleppo, and US officials now say Russia was likely responsible, reports the New York Times. Russia denies it.

Two US officials tells Reuters that a pair of Russian war planes were spotted above the convoy before it was hit, while Moscow says the US "has no facts" to back up the allegation. In fact, Russia says it's not even clear that the convoy was hit from the air, notes Al Jazeera. Whatever the cause, civilians are bearing the brunt of the fallout, because the UN has halted all further aid convoys in Syria. All this comes as pro- and anti-government forces battled anew near Aleppo and Hama, and as the UN plans a high-level meeting on Wednesday. And it follows last weekend's errant US airstrike that hit Syrian troops. (Read more Syria stories.)

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