Analysis of satellite imagery of a deadly attack on
an aid convoy in Syria last month showed that it
was an air strike, a UN expert said on Wednesday.
At least 20 people were killed in the attack on the
UN and Syrian Arab Red Crescent convoy at Urm
al-Kubra near the northern city of Aleppo, which
destroyed 18 of 31 lorries, a warehouse and clinic.
The United States blamed two Russian fighter jets
that it said were in the skies above the area at the
time of the incident. Moscow denies the charge
and says the convoy caught fire.
“With our analysis we determined it was an air
strike, and I think multiple other sources have said
that as well,” Lars Bromley, research adviser at
UNOSAT, told a news conference.
“For air strikes, what you are usually looking out
for is the size of the crater that is visible and the
type of crater,” he said. A giant crater on the
ground was caused “almost certainly [by] air
dropped munitions” as opposed to artillery or
mortars, he said.
The United Nations has so far referred only to an
“attack”, which led to a brief suspension of its land
convoys in Syria, while the International Federation
of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies initially
referred to “air strikes” in a statement.
Battle for Aleppo
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced on
Friday he would establish an internal UN board of
inquiry to investigate the attack and urged all
parties to fully cooperate.
UNOSAT, which reviews only commercially-
available satellite images, has not been asked to
share its analysis with the UN inquiry, but is
prepared to do so, UNOSAT manager Einar Bjorgo
said. “Our images are from time to time used in
order to brief Security Council members,” he told
The UN’s claim about the Aid convoy attack in
Aleppo came as the battle for the key province
Three children were among at least 19 civilians
killed in an air strike on a village held by the
Islamic State or Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also
known as ISIS) group in northern Aleppo province
on Wednesday, a monitor said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it
was unclear whether the strike was carried out by
the US-led coalition fighting ISIL, or Turkey, which
is leading an operation against the group in the
area with support from Syrian rebel forces.
The strike hit the village of Thalthana, in northern
Aleppo province, the Britain-based monitor said.