The United Nations said it resumed humanitarian aid deliveries to war-torn Syria on Thursday after halting the convoys because of an attack that killed at least 21 people.
Jens Laerke, a spokesman of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), told Reuters that an inter-agency convoy would cross conflict lines into a besieged area of rural Damascus. “We will advise on the exact locations once the convoy has actually reached those locations,” he said.
The Damascus branch of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent tweeted images of its aid vehicles on the move.
The U.N. suspended aid deliveries on Tuesday after the convoy was struck near Aleppo in northern Syria the previous day. The Syrian Arab Red Crescent said one of its employees and around 20 civilians were killed. The U.S. government blamed the attack on Russia, which said neither it nor its ally Syria were involved.
A Russian military spokesman said a U.S.-led coalition Predator drone was in the area at the time. The Pentagon denied the claim.
Syrian President Bashar Assad blamed the U.S. for the collapse of a cease-fire deal brokered with Russia that went into effect on Sept. 12.
In an interview with the Associated Press conducted Wednesday and published Thursday, Assad said the U.S. “doesn’t have the will” to join Russia in fighting Islamic extremists in Syria.
He rejected accusations that Syrian or Russian warplanes struck the aid convoy Tuesday and denied that his forces prevented food from entering rebel-held parts of Aleppo. U.S. airstrikes on his troops in eastern Syria were “definitely intentional,” he added, according to the AP.
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SOURCE: USA Today, Jane Onyanga-Omara and Oren Dorell