U.N Red Crescent Aid Convoy Attack: Was it An Airstrike?

In October 2016 during an ABC interview, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop confirmed that the war in Syria is a proxy war between the U.S and Russia. This should be a cause for concern as Australian military forces are currently operating in Syria. Australian military forces, in particular the Royal Australian Air Force, began operations in Syria in September of 2016. There has been very little information provided to the Australian public with regard to the reasons for Australian military presence other than the typical ‘anti-ISIS’ rhetoric that we see in any western news media. If the Australian minister of foreign affairs has stated on the public record that the conflict in Syria is a proxy war between the U.S and Russia, why are we involved? Who exactly are we attacking? Are civilians being killed as a result of our actions? These are questions that all Australians should be asking themselves.

On September 17 a ‘UN red crescent aid convoy’ was reported to have been attacked and destroyed while it was unloading food at a warehouse in Urem al-Kubra, resulting in the deaths of around 20 people. A huge volume of reports and articles in various mainstream western news outlets including the Guardian, the BBC, CNN, the Washington post and others pinned the blame for the convoy attack on a Russian Air Strike. My personal reaction to this event was initially that of scepticism. The sudden torrent of news articles blaming Russia alone was enough to arouse suspicion in my mind, how could these news outlets know that this was a Russian air strike? There was no real evidence of Russia’s involvement of the ‘convoy attack’ in any of these reports, just pictures of burnt out trucks and an indication that the U.S government blamed Russia. In fact, the pictures provided in initial reports of the aid convoy don’t show anything conclusive.

Image: Arab News

Immediately following the aid convoy attack, a report was released on the website ‘bellingcat’ where bellingcat’s director, Elliot Higgins, presented evidence in the form of photographs of the warehouse where the aid convoy was unloading. Higgins claimed to have received the evidence from the Syrian White helmet group. However the Syrian White helmets have been exposed as a fraudulent propaganda machine under the control of the U.S government among others (you can see this in my previous blog on the Syrian White Helmets). The photographs included what was described as being damage from an air strike and images of fragments of a Russian designed ‘OFAB-250’ air-to-ground bomb.

Image: Bellingcat

However 21st century wire provides evidence that suggests the pictures were taken as a staged operation to create fake evidence. This includes independent analysis by Petri Krohn which suggests that it is unlikely that the damage seen in bellingcats photo-evidence was caused by an air dropped Russian bomb. According to Krohn “This really looks like something considerably smaller, mortar shell sized, did explode there, and this fin is thrown into the crater, and all converted into this photo-op scene.” Further to this, 21st century wire also includes evidence in the form of a video that was presented along with early reports of the attack from white helmets, which was supposed to have shown the actual attack in progess.

The main problem with this video is that there is no audible aircraft or helicopter noise. In other video recordings of air strikes from the ground the helicopter / aircraft noise is clearly audible (examples can be found here, here and here). The person that recorded the video embedded above, also claims in real time after separate explosions, that he knows the attack is being carried out by the Syrian forces and the Russian air force. However, it is unlikely that the witness that recorded the video, could have known who or what was causing the explosions. This is because it would be extremely difficult to locate and identify a military air craft flying at high speed in the night sky. There is no conclusive evidence that can prove who really attacked the red-crescent convoy. It is obvious that the claims being made by U.S officials that blame the Syrian and Russian forces are at least an exaggeration.