ALEPPO, Syria – A weeklong ceasefire came to a violent end as government-directed airstrikes pummeled the city. The attacks targeted a United Nations humanitarian convoy in rebel-held neighborhoods, killing at least 12 workers, while continued strikes killed another 70 and destroyed the city’s water station.
The violence in late September heightened tensions between the United States and Russia as a senior U.S. official pinned the blame for the airstrikes on Russian forces. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad rejected U.S. claims as “just lies” and said the United States didn’t have the will to partner with Russia in combating ISIS extremists.
The Syrian president also accused the United States of deliberately attacking Syrian troops in an airstrike the previous week. American officials have called that strike accidental.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, in a showdown with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, expressed “profound doubt whether Russia and the Assad regime can or will live up to” their commitment to the ceasefire.
At least 18 of 31 U.N. trucks were hit while unloading supplies. U.N. humanitarian aid coordinator Jan Egeland said the convoy was “bombarded,” adding, “It is outrageous that it was hit while offloading at warehouses.”
Syrian forces conducted a strike that killed 20 and destroyed the city’s main water pumping station in what was described as an effort to end violence and allow aid to enter the city. The water station supplied water to both rebels and regime-controlled areas.
At least 50 were killed and others injured the previous day as Syrian forces decimated neighborhoods in eastern Aleppo and the surrounding countryside. An Aleppo Media Center activist described the latest violence as more intense than before the ceasefire.
According to the Christian organization Open Doors, “Bombs or mortars regularly hit defenseless civilians and civilian targets, causing injuries or even death to people who take no part in the armed conflict.” Aleppo’s Christian population has especially suffered. A July mortar fire damaged a church warehouse, destroying much-needed supplies.
Pray that supplies will reach the needy families of Aleppo, and for God’s protection over His people.