Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Misadventurous Errors of Mission

"[The Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC), the International Committee of the Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies] are outraged by last night’s [September 19] horrific attack on a SARC warehouse and an aid convoy in Orem Al Kubra (Big Orem) in rural Aleppo."
"Around 20 civilians and one SARC staff member were killed as they were unloading trucks carrying vital humanitarian aid. Much of the aid was destroyed."
September 20 joint SARC, Int.committee of the Red Cross Int .Fed. of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies press release 

"We’re totally devastated by the deaths of so many people, including one of our colleagues, the director of our sub-branch, Omar Barakat."
"It is totally unacceptable that our staff and volunteers continue to pay such a high price because of the ongoing fighting."
 SARC President Abdulrahman Attar

A damaged truck carrying aid is seen on the side of the road in the town of Orum al-Kubra on the western outskirts of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on Sept. 20, 2016, the morning after a convoy delivering aid was hit by a deadly airstrike. (photo by GETTY/Omar Haj Kadour)
“Look, this was a difficult and trying day in Syria that I think raises very serious questions about whether the Russians can deliver their end of the arrangement that we’ve been negotiating with them and trying to implement."
"What happened [Sept. 19] has dealt a serious blow to our efforts to bring peace to Syria. It is up to the Russians to demonstrate … that this process remains viable."
Senior U.S. Administration Official
So then, the week-long truce that brought a brief respite to the long-suffering and besieged Sunni residents of Aleppo and nearby rebel-controlled towns never did succeed in allowing the main event the truce was meant for, the trucking in of humanitarian supplies to bring relief and hope for life to the beleaguered Syrians their government is attempting to slaughter. The deliveries were stuck at the Turkish border because a broad agreement could not be secured that they would be safe driving over the border into Syria, thanks to stalling by the regime.

And when an American-led series of strikes meant to hit Islamic State terrorists went astray and mistakenly hit regime troops, killing 62 Syrian soldiers, according to Syrian government claims, it was all bets off. Effectively permitting Russia and Bashar al-Assad to paint the U.S. as a deliberate spoiler of the truce, with the intention of benefiting the rebels. Hard to reach that conclusion when the immediate effect was to have Russian planes flying surveillance over the besieged towns, directly afterward being bombed once again by regime warplanes, with predictable results.

So the UN humanitarian aid convey once inside Syria became sitting ducks, hit by airstrikes even while the Syrian military spoke of the uselessness of the U.S.-Russia-brokered cease-fire as a failure. But not yet, evidently, since neither the U.S. nor the Russian negotiators claim they are prepared to countenance the agreement's cancellation; Russia has itself grimly declared it is prepared to extend the ceasefire for another week. But the humanitarian coalition has also announced its intention to pull out.

Humanitarian assistance geared to aid 78,000 people in a town west of Aleppo has failed with about 18 of the 31 convoy trucks hit, their contents destroyed. The Red Crescent warehouse and its contents was also hit; as accidental targets, needless to say, ostensibly mistakenly taken for rebel groups preparing to assault regime-held positions once again. According to the Syrian Observatory for Hyman Rights a dozen, mostly truck drivers and Red Crescent workers died in the attack.

Another group of civilians was also killed when airstrikes hit the rebel-held area of Aleppo and surrounding areas. A measure of 'balance' was introduced when Russia claimed that government positions came under militant attacks in the south-west portion of Aleppo. Plenty of hatred and violence to go around, unerringly steered into place by proxy mentors who deplore the ongoing loss of human life and hope.

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