The United Nations has suspended all aid convoys in Syria after a deadly attack that hit at least 18 trucks carrying supplies.
The International Committee of the Red Cross said 21 people died in the attack, including one Syrian Arab Red Crescent staff member, as they were unloading trucks carrying humanitarian aid.
#SYRIA: ICRC says "around 20 civilians and one SARC staff member" killed in air strike while unloading aid in Orum al-Kubra
— Maya Gebeily (@GebeilyM) September 20, 2016
“The temporary suspension of aid will stay in force while the security situation is being reviewed in Syria,” a spokesperson for the UN said.
“It has been a “very, very dark day” for aid agencies around the world,” he added.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the attack was carried out by either the Syrian government or the Russian military.
Russia’s ministry of defence has denied that Russian or Syrian military aircraft attacked the aid convoy.
The UN has said the attack could amount to a war crime if it was deliberate.
Disgusted an aid convoy was hit this eve in Urum al-Kubra #Syria. Zero explanation for waging war on brave and selfless humanitarian workers
— Mark Lowcock (@UNReliefChief) September 19, 2016
“Let me be clear, if this callous attack is found to be a deliberate targeting of humanitarians, it would amount to a war crime,” UN aid chief Stephen O’Brien said.
UN humanitarian coordinator says attack on humanitarian convoy in Syria today is likely a war crime. (He says everyone knew about it.) pic.twitter.com/pG0eQ3RkYd
— Samuel Oakford (@samueloakford) September 20, 2016
The attack happened late Monday evening, hours after Syria’s military declared an end to the week-long ceasefire.