Russian or Syrian aircraft have bombed a Red Crescent humanitarian aid convoy and warehouse in Syria. Despite calls to Russian and Syrian forces from UN officials, the bombing continued during the night.
If as appears probable the bombing was intentional, it constitutes a war crime. Under international law, not only the country whose planes did the bombing would be responsible for the war crime, but also any country which assisted in the operation, such as Russia which is ssisting Syria in its air operations.
It is not hard to imagine that Vladimir Putin, emboldened by his massive “victory” in the parliamentary elections on Sunday in Russia, ordered the strike in retaliation for the U.S. coalition “mistake” of bombing and killing 62 Syrian soldiers days earlier during the “ceasefire”.
(1) Julian Borger, ” US blames Russia after UN aid convoy in Syria targeted by air attack; UN official says ‘inexplicable’ attack could amount to a war crime if bombing which killed aid workers proved to be deliberate,” The Guardian, September 20, 2016.
(2) AP, “Aid Convoy Attacked as Syria Says Cease-Fire Failed,” New York Times, September 19, 2016 (10:25 P.M. EDT).
(3) Government of Ireland, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, ““International Humanitarian Law”:
International humanitarian law (IHL) – known also as the Law of Armed Conflict or the Law of War – is the body of international rules that in time of armed conflict protects those who do not, or can no longer, participate in hostilities, such as civilians, the wounded and prisoners of war.
Basic Rules of International Humanitarian Law
The wounded and sick must be collected and cared for by the party to the conflict which has them in its power. Medical personnel and medical facilities and vehicles may not be attacked. Personnel wearing the distinctive emblem of the Red Cross, Red Crescent or Red Crystal on white backgrounds, and facilities and vehicles bearing the emblems, must be respected.
(4) “REPRISE–Syria: Russia and Iran complicit under International Law in the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity,” The Trenchant Observer, September 8, 2015.
Probable Russian involvement is suggsted by the quick propaganda claim that no bombing had taken place, but rather the damage was caused by a fire. See
(5) “Russia denies responsibility for aid convoy strike; UN halts all aid deliveries after attack destroys 18 trucks in rebel-held northern Aleppo and kills at least 20 people,” Al Jazeera English, September 20, 2016.
The Trenchant Observer