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Kerry calls for no aircraft flying over key Syria aid routes


Aid is seen strewn across the floor in the town of Orum al Kubra on the western outskirts of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo after a convoy was hit on Monday

The airstrike on a Syrian Arab Red Crescent convoy Monday night prompted global condemnation over attacks targeting humanitarian facilities and workers.

Members of the Security Council meet to address the situation in Syria, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016, at United Nations headquarters. But “the regime’s attempts to advance failed”, said the rebel, speaking to Reuters from the Aleppo area via the internet.

Monday’s attack on the aid convoy, which the Syrian Red Crescent says killed the head of its local office and around 20 other people, brought furious worldwide condemnation.

Kerry admitted coalition forces accidentally hit a Syrian military camp Saturday, killing 62 Syrian soldiers, calling it a awful accident. The Observatory says the toll is likely to rise because rescue efforts are ongoing.

John Key, in his opening remarks said that after more than five years of violence, Syria had become a byword for failure.

Russia Wednesday charged a US drone was responsible for bombing a 31-truck United Nations aid convoy loaded with food and medicine in Syria, one day after the USA blamed Moscow and Tehran for the two-hour attack that killed 20 aid workers near Aleppo.

USA officials have said that “either way it held Russian Federation responsible because under the truce deal Moscow was charged with preventing airstrikes on humanitarian deliveries”, as the AP reported.

“All of the video footage demonstrates that the convoy caught fire, which strangely happened nearly at exactly the same time as militants started a large scale offensive on Aleppo”, Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in a statement Tuesday.

The US Secretary of State has called for all planes to be grounded in key areas of Syria to save the truce there, following an attack on an aid convoy. The Pentagon said no drone was in the area at the time. The U.S. defense department quickly denied that, saying it doesn’t fly aircraft over that area of Syria. Russian Federation has denied that its own aircraft or Syrian warplanes struck the convoy. The U.N. estimates 6 million Syrians live in besieged and hard-to-reach areas.

A U.S. -Russian cease-fire that went into effect nine days ago has all but collapsed.

The U.N humanitarian aid agency said convoys to priority areas would be resumed, with “several” deliveries planned as early as Thursday.

The United States and Russian Federation abandoned diplomatic niceties Wednesday in a fractious public debate over Syria, blaming each other for spoiling the country’s cease-fire and offering only temporary patches to stem the bloodshed.

Kerry said it was imperative that Russian Federation force the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad to ground its planes.

Kerry also called for the creation of no-go areas for aircraft in northern Syria.

Washington and Moscow, which back opposing sides in the war between Assad’s government and insurgents, agreed to jointly target jihadists that are their common enemy.

Nusra and the so-called Islamic State are the two terrorist groups excluded from the truce – and the USA and Russian Federation are supposed to be cooperating with one another to defeat them.

At least 13 aid workers were killed by raids in Khan Tuman, a village south of Aleppo city, on Wednesday, according to the Union of Syrian Medical Relief Organisations.

A strike on a Syrian Red Crescent aid convoy earlier this week prompted worldwide condemnation.

Lavrov said the United Nations envoy should not be “blackmailed” by these spoilers.

The U.S. continues to believe there was a way “out of the carnage” in the war-torn country, Kerry added.

A medical relief organization says an airstrike in northern Syria hit a mobile emergency unit, and not a medical facility. The group later said two nurses and two ambulance drivers were killed, while a third nurse remains in critical condition. The group’s vice president, Dr. Oubaida Al Moufti, told The Associated Press that “the mobile medical team was hit while responding to an earlier airstrike targeting militants from the al-Qaida-linked Fatah al-Sham Front”.

The White House said publicly Tuesday night that it held Russians responsible, regardless of whether it or the Syrian government had launched the strikes, since they have responsibility for the airspace. UOSSM said the nurse later died of her injuries.

State TV meanwhile said a Syrian warplane crashed after carrying out a combat mission against Islamic State militants northwest of the capital, Damascus. IS shot down a government aircraft on Sunday in the eastern Deir el-Zour province. “I’ve heard that again and again”, a visibly angry Kerry told the council.

It was not clear whether the strike was carried out by Russian or Syrian warplanes. Syria’s rebels do not have aircraft.

He said he had asked his special envoy on Syria, Staffan de Mistura, to come up with a framework for direct talks between the Syria Government and opposition. There was no immediate comment from the government. UOSSM confirmed in a statement that at least four of its staff had been killed. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring body, confirmed the advance and said government forces had pressed forward near an apartment complex nearby.

There were no reports on who was behind the strike.