Yesterday’s apparently airstrikes against a UN aid convoy, destroying between 18-20 trucks and killing some 14 Red Crescent volunteers took multiple turns today, with the US claiming they believe that a pair of Russian warplanes attacked the convoy, potentially as “revenge” for the American attack on a Syrian military base the day before, which killed 83 soldiers.
The Russians are denying this, of course, but perhaps the even more unusual angle is that White House officials have subsequently come forward to insist that the US holds Russia responsible for what happened to the convoy, even if they didn’t actually do it.
Obama aide Ben Rhodes argued that because Russia had made a commitment to the ceasefire and to getting aid flowing in northern Syria, it was obviously their fault that something happened to the convoy, no matter what that actually was.
Of course, the US had made the exact same commitments as Russia, at least near as anyone can tell since the US insisted on keeping the terms of the ceasefire secret, and the US has directly violated the truce the day before when they directly attacked the Syrian Army base in Deir Ezzor, allowing ISIS to overrun it.
Either way, Russia is saying the evidence doesn’t point to airstrikes to begin with, noting there were no craters from where the strikes hit, and the exterior of the vehicles was not damaged in a way consistent with exterior attack from bombs.
Russian officials say the video footage of the incident showed the convoy catching fire, but did not show how it actually happened. Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashevenko suggested that the UN ask the White Helmets NGO, saying they “as always, found themselves at the right time by chance with their video cameras.”