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US calls for Syria no-fly zone as UN says it will resume aid convoys

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By Euronews  with Reuters, AFP, BBC
US calls for Syria no-fly zone as UN says it will resume aid convoys

<p><ul></p> <li> UN Security Council meets on Syria </li> <li> Kerry calls for immediate “no-fly zone”</li> <li> UN says it will resume aid convoys </li> <li> Russia denies involvement in Monday’s convoy attack </li> <li> US blames Russia but insists truce “not dead” </li> </ul> <br /> <br /> <p>Russia and the US have traded blame at a <a href="https://www.un.org/press/en/2016/sc12525.doc.htm">special UN Security Council meeting</a> on Syria in New York.</p> <p>An attack on an aid convoy near Aleppo on Monday left at least 20 people dead and the shaky Syrian ceasefire in tatters.</p> <p>Russia has categorically denied involvement and is calling for a “thorough and impartial” investigation of what happened.</p> <p>Calling the attack “a flagrant violation of international law,” the US is calling for a no-fly zone to be brought in immediately.</p> <br /> <br /> <h3><strong>What is happening on the ground in Syria?</strong></h3> <br /> <br /> <p>Agencies report that Syrian rebels and pro-government forces are battling each other along major front lines near Aleppo and Hama.</p> <p>Air strikes have reportedly killed at least a dozen people, including four medical workers.</p> <p>The renewed fighting demonstrates the slim prospects for reviving the truce that collapsed into fresh fighting and bombardments on Monday.</p> <p>US officials believe an attack on an aid convoy on Monday was carried out by Russian jets.</p> <p>Moscow has denied any involvement.</p> <br /> <br /> <h3><strong>What happened on Monday?</strong></h3> <br /> <br /> <p>At least 20 civilians died in what witnesses have described as an aerial attack on a humanitarian convoy of aid lorries near Aleppo.</p> <p>The Syrian Red Crescent says the head of its local office was among those killed.</p> <p>There has been furious international condemnation.</p> <p>Both Russia and Syria insist their forces were not involved.</p> <br /> <br /> <h3><strong>What has the UN said?</strong></h3> <br /> <br /> <p>Late on Wednesday, the UN announced it will resume aid convoys in Syria after they were suspended in the wake of Monday’s attack.</p> <br /> <br /> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">The Latest: The United Nations says it will resume aid convoys within Syria after an attack on a convoy killed 20. <a href="https://t.co/indxlPDh5u">https://t.co/indxlPDh5u</a></p>— The Associated Press (@AP) <a href="https://twitter.com/AP/status/778651918285537280">September 21, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <br /> <br /> <p>Speaking about the attack earlier in the week, outgoing <strong>UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s</strong> language was unusually blunt.</p> <p>“Powerful patrons, feeding the war machine, also have blood on their hands,” he said.</p> <p>The UN suspended all aid convoys in Syria in the wake of the attack.</p> <p>Speaking at a UN Security Council high-level meeting on Syria on Wednesday, <strong>Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura</strong> insisted the conflict would not be resolved militarily.</p> <br /> <br /> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"align="center"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Staffan de Mistura <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/UN?src=hash">#UN</a> Special Envoy for <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Syria?src=hash">#Syria</a>, Sergey <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Lavrov?src=hash">#Lavrov</a> FM of Russia & <a href="https://twitter.com/JohnKerry"><code>JohnKerry</a> US Sec. of State at a Security Council on Syria <a href="https://t.co/QSoGBvRlo8">pic.twitter.com/QSoGBvRlo8</a></p>&mdash; United Nations Photo (</code>UN_Photo) <a href="https://twitter.com/UN_Photo/status/778619853892714496">September 21, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <br /> <br /> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"align="center"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><span class="caps">LIVE</span> from UN Security Council: “The conflict in <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Syria?src=hash">#Syria</a> cannot be resolved militarily.” <a href="https://twitter.com/UN"><code>UN</a> Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/UNGA?src=hash">#UNGA</a> <a href="https://t.co/HWSYZzmyW1">pic.twitter.com/HWSYZzmyW1</a></p>&mdash; UKUN_NewYork (</code>UKUN_NewYork) <a href="https://twitter.com/UKUN_NewYork/status/778592006595543040">September 21, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <br /> <br /> <h3><strong>What Russia says</strong></h3> <br /> <br /> <p>The Russian Defence Ministry says a US Predator drone was in the same area as the aid convoy.</p> <p>Noting that the drones carry air-to-ground missiles, spokesman <strong>Major-General Igor Konashenkov</strong> said it took off from Incirlik air base in Turkey.</p> <p>“Only the drone’s owners know what it was doing there at the necessary moment and what tasks it was carrying out,” <strong>Konashenkov</strong> said in a statement. </p> <p>He added that Moscow is not drawing any conclusions about the drone.</p> <p>Konashenkov repeated denials of Russian involvement.</p> <p>He suggested Western allegations that Moscow was directly or indirectly responsible are an attempt to distract attention from the US-led coalition’s deadly bombing of Syrian soldiers in Deir-el-Zor last Saturday.</p> <p>Russia’s foreign minister, meanwhile, has called for a “thorough and impartial investigation” into Monday’s attack on the humanitarian convoy near Aleppo, which he described as an “unacceptable provocation.”</p> <p>Speaking at the UN Security Council high level meeting on Wednesday, <strong>Sergei Lavrov</strong> said a ceasefire brokered with the US on September 9 will only work if there is a comprehensive approach with simultaneous steps taken by all parties involved in the conflict.</p> <p>“Otherwise nothing will happen,” he added, “There will not be any unilateral pauses.”</p> <p>“The strikes on the 16th of September by the coalition against the government positions in Deir el- Zor were a clear violation of the cessation of hostilities and, immediately after those strikes, <span class="caps">ISIL</span> began assaults against the government forces,” <strong>Lavrov</strong> told the Security Council.</p> <br /> <br /> <h3><strong>What the US says</strong></h3> <br /> <br /> <p>Speaking at the UN Security Council special briefing on Wednesday, the US Secretary of State called for an immediate no-fly zone to be brought in.</p> <p>John Kerry said all aircraft in “key areas over Syria” must be immediately grounded.</p> <p>Monday’s attack, along with a second attack on two ambulances on Tuesday, are “flagrant violations of international law,” Kerry added.</p> <p>However, Kerry says he still believes there is a way forward “out of the carnage” in Syria.</p> <p>He also urged all countries to stop supporting any parties trying to sabotage the ceasefire agreement.</p> <p>“This attack has dealt a very heavy blow to our efforts to bring peace to Syria and it raises a profound doubt about whether Russia and the Assad regime can or will live up to the obligations that they agreed to in Geneva,” <strong>Kerry told the Security Council</strong>.</p> <p>Late on Wednesday afternoon, the US denied Russia’s claim that a coalition drone was near the Syrian aid convoy that was hit on Monday.</p> <br /> <br /> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"align="center"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BREAKING?src=hash">#BREAKING</a> Pentagon denies Russian claim coalition drone was near Syria aid convoy</p>— <span class="caps">AFP</span> news agency (@AFP) <a href="https://twitter.com/AFP/status/778671105326407680">September 21, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <br /> <br />