World leaders continue to debate who carried out the attack Monday on a UN/SARC relief convoy in Aleppo — an attack that killed 13 of my colleagues, including our regional director Omar Barakat.
We know with absolute certainty who carried out the attack. We know that Russian aircraft were in the sky, and that Russian munitions were found at the site of the horrific attack on our convoy. We know that this two-hour long sustained aerial campaign against our fellow aid workers was not an accident–it was deliberate.
We have seen dozens of similar attacks here in Aleppo, targeting hospitals, ambulances, schools, and marketplaces. And all too often, we witness this same “double tap” strategy: an initial airstrike, followed by a second airstrike targeting rescue workers.
We are aid workers and volunteers in the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, sworn first and foremost to help our people, and to be neutral. Yesterday, the world celebrated World Peace Day, while here in Aleppo, bombs continued to rain down on civilians who we are sworn to help.
We saw over a dozen aid workers and volunteers killed in an airstrike on the UN/ SARC convoys four days ago. The next day, airstrikes targeted a medical point in rural Aleppo, and 5 more medical workers were killed in the strike. These attacks on our colleagues and friends are systematic, and unacceptable.
In front of the UN, Secretary Kerry insisted that all aircraft in northern Syria be grounded to prevent attacks on innocent Syrians and allow in humanitarian aid, like the convoy that was attacked. We need that to be implemented and enforced. We need these attacks from the sky, which target our humanitarian colleagues and civilians, to stop immediately.
Omar Halabo and Mahmoud Zaza, SARC volunteers in Aleppo