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U.N. Moves to Refer Aleppo Convoy Attack to Security Council | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Damaged aid trucks are pictured after an airstrike on the rebel held Urm al-Kubra town, western Aleppo city, Syria September 20, 2016. REUTERS/Ammar Abdullah

Geneva- U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said on Friday that if investigators identify who was to blame for the deadly Sept. 19 attack on a U.N. aid convoy near the Syrian city of Aleppo, the issue could be brought to the Security Council.

The United States has said it believes two Russian aircraft carried out the strike near Aleppo, which killed 20 people, destroyed a warehouse and 18 trucks, and shattered a one-week truce. Russia has denied involvement.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched an independent board of inquiry into the attack, which U.N. satellite imagery experts have said was an air strike.

“We now have a three-person board of inquiry. And they are in the area, I believe, and were already a couple of days ago, even last week I think, and are working on it,” Eliasson told a news conference in Geneva.

“Of course we know that it’s a difficult mission because it’s a mission where access is very difficult,” he added.
“We know of course that manipulation of evidence can take place and evidence can disappear and so forth.”

Such an attack against a humanitarian convoy carrying food and medical supplies for civilians “constitutes without any doubt a war crime”, Eliasson said.

It was absolutely crucial to gather as much information as possible. “We would like to see as much as possible if we can identify who was behind this attack,” he said, adding that the results should be “out in the open”.

“This issue is an issue which probably will be of interest to bring to the Security Council and then we’ll see what happens in the Council,” he said.

The five permanent members of the Security Council – Russia as well as Britain, China, France and the United States – have veto powers, including against any move to send such a case to the International Criminal Court.