The week-old Syrian ceasefire ended with an atrocity when either Syrian or Russian warplanes bombed an aid convoy parked in a Red Crescent center located just outside the city of Aleppo.The Assad regime declared the ceasefire over and immediately began shelling and bombing the city.
The convoy, one of several that have been waiting to deliver food to the starving city, had been repeatedly denied entry by the Assad regime’s forces.
A local resident told Reuters by phone that the trucks were hit by around five missile strikes while parked in a center belonging to the Syrian Red Crescent in the town of Urm al-Kubra, near Aleppo. The head of the center and several others were badly injured.
The monitoring group said it was not clear if the jets were Syrian or Russian. Moscow supports President Bashar al-Assad with its air force. The Syrian military could not immediately be reached for comment.
The air strikes appeared particularly heavy in insurgent-held areas west of Aleppo, near the rebel stronghold of Idlib province. And in eastern Aleppo, a resident reached by Reuters said there had been dozens of blasts.
“It started with an hour of extremely fierce bombing,” said Besher Hawi, the former spokesman for the opposition’s Aleppo city council. “Now I can hear the sound of helicopters overhead. The last two were barrel bombs,” he said, the sound of an explosion audible in the background.
Abu al-Baraa al-Hamawi, a rebel commander, said the most intense bombardments had taken in place in areas west of Aleppo, the same area where the aid convoy was hit. “The regime and Russians are taking revenge on all the areas,” he said.
The raids came as what is likely to be the final attempt by the U.S. administration of President Barack Obama to find a negotiated solution to the five year old civil war appeared close to collapse.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said it was too early to call the ceasefire finished, and the United Nations said that only Washington and Moscow could declare it over, as they were the ones who had originally agreed it.
Washington said it was working to extend the truce but called on Russia to first clarify the Syrian army’s statement that it was over.
It is an open question whether John Kerry is insane or he’s knowingly just mouthing useless platitudes. Of course the ceasefire is over. In fact, hostilities never ended.
And is it possible that Kerry doesn’t understand that no one cares if the U.S. thinks the ceasefire is still in effect? The notion that only Washington and Moscow can declare the ceasefire over is patently ridiculous. One would think the Syrian army and the rebels would have a lot more to say about when the ceasefire ends than Kerry.
Note also that Kerry is begging the Russians to “clarify” a clear, unambiguous statement from the Syrian army — followed by a massive bombardment of Aleppo — that they consider the ceasefire over.
The attack on the aid convoy is only the latest war crime committed by Syria and Russia. In late July, 6 Aleppo hospitals were deliberately bombed within a week. The use of chlorine gas, the barrel bombs hitting civilian neighborhoods, and the indiscriminate shelling have killed and maimed tens of thousands of civilians. If Assad wins — and it appears that he and his Russian and Iranian allies are hell bent on achieving it — he will rule over a smoldering cinder of a country.
The list of failures coming out of the ceasefire is epic — even for the incompetent Obama administration. Here’s a partial list of what the Obama administration believed it had agreed to with Russia that never came about:
- In the first 72 hours after the agreement, there were nearly 200 violations of the ceasefire. Since then, violations escalated into the hundreds until today when the Syrian government declared the agreement over.
- Russia promised that they’d pressure Syria to allow aid convoys into Aleppo and other besieged areas. Some areas in south and central Syria that were in dire need of aid received relief. But the 300,000 residents in Aleppo who are close to starvation got nothing.
- Military cooperation with Russia never materialized.
- Russia’s promised attacks on Islamic State forces never happened.
This is Putin’s latest effort to humiliate President Obama and once again, he has succeeded.