Agencies – An air raid carried out overnight by Syrian or Russian warplanes killed four medical workers and at least nine rebel fighters near Aleppo, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said on Wednesday.
The raid hit the town of Khan Touman southwest of Aleppo city, an area controlled by insurgents.
The medical staff killed were working for the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations (UOSSM), it said.
UOSSM confirmed in a statement that four of its staff had been killed.
The United States on Tuesday blamed Russia for an overnight attack on an aid convoy that killed 20 civilians as the UN announced it was suspending overland aid deliveries in Syria, jeopardizing food and medical security for millions of besieged and hard-to-reach civilians.
Confusion continued about who struck the convoy, but the White House insisted it was either Russia or Syria. White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said either way, the US held Russia responsible, because it was Russia’s job under the week-old cease-fire to prevent Syria’s air force from striking in areas where humanitarian aid was being transported.
“All of our information indicates clearly that this was an airstrike,” Rhodes said, rejecting the claim by Russia’s Defense Ministry that a cargo fire caused the damage. Both Russia and Syria have denied carrying out the bombing.
Within one minute of the strike, the US tracked a Russian-made Su-24 directly over the region of the attack, US officials said. Even that revelation failed to definitively implicate Russia because both the Russian and Syrian air forces fly the Su-24, although the US officials said there were strong indications that the jet was flown by the Russian military.
Witnesses described the Monday attack on a Syrian Arab Red Crescent warehouse and convoy in the rebel-held town of Uram Al-Kubra in Aleppo province as prolonged and intense, saying the aerial bombardment continued as rescue workers rushed to pull the wounded from the flaming wreckage and rubble.
The convoy was part of a routine interagency dispatch operated by the Syrian Red Crescent, which UN officials said was delivering assistance to 78,000 people in Uram Al-Kubra, west of Aleppo city. It was carrying food, medicines, emergency health kits, IV fluids, and other essentials supplied by the UN and the World Health Organization.
Local paramedic and media activist Mohammad Rasoul, who was among the first to arrive at the scene, said over 100 tons of food, medicine, and baby formula had gone up in flames. He said 18 of the convoy’s 31 trucks were completely destroyed.
The attack “erased the convoy from the face of the earth,” Rasoul said.
“I’ve never seen anything like this attack,” he said. “If this had been a military position, it wouldn’t have been targeted with such intensity.”