Almost two days have passed since a joint UN-Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) humanitarian convoy was destroyed in western Aleppo province, killing 20 people, including a local SARC director Omar Barakat.
In the morning of September 19, the 31-truck convoy started its journey from the Syrian regime-controlled part of Aleppo, crossed the frontline in the early afternoon and proceded to the town of Orem al-Kubra (controlled by anti-Assad forces) about 10 km west of Aleppo city, where it later came under attack.
According to a UN representative, the convoy’s passing was approved by Syrian and Russian authorities.
During the time since the tragedy, a lot of new data emerged on it, which will be analyzed in this post.
In the video, the convoy can be seen standing at the side of the Idlib-Aleppo highway, with a pickup truck towing what looks like a mortar going past it.
However, a SCD volunteer who commented on the incident during the first hours after the airstrikes, claimed a Syrian regime helicopter dropped barrel bombs on the convoy. He noted that after the rescuers arrived to the site, more airstrikes took place.
According to the aforementioned White Helmets statement, both Russian and Syrian aircraft are believed to have conducted the airstrikes. This is corroborated with a video showing a piece of metal resembling a barrel bomb lid as well as an AFP photo most likely showing the tail of an OFAB-250-270 high explosive fragmentation bomb extensively used by the Russian Air Force in Syria.
The information discussed above allows us to make the following conclusions:
- The humanitarian convoy was most likely destroyed with airstrikes by both the Assad regime and the Russian Air Force;
- The Russian MoD statements either have no relation to the incident (a pickup truck passing the convoy 6 kilometers away from the bombing site and 5 hours before it) or are simply false (the convoy was destroyed by airstrikes, not in a fire; the Russian UAV did not cease monitoring the convoy at 1:40 AM but filmed it a mere 2 hours before the bombing started).