U.N. inquiry says air strike hit Syria aid convoy in September

By Michelle Nichols

By Michelle Nichols UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - A United Nations internal inquiry released on Wednesday found that a deadly attack on an aid convoy in Syria in September came from an air strike, but it could not conclude that the attack was "deliberate" or who was to blame. At least 10 people died and some 22 were injured in the Sept. 19 attack on a U.N. and Syrian Arab Red Crescent aid convoy at Urem Al-Kubra near the city of Aleppo, which also destroyed 17 trucks, the inquiry found. "The board found that, while the incident was caused by an air attack, it was not possible to identify the perpetrator or perpetrators," according to a summary of the report by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, which was submitted to the 15-member U.N. Security Council on Wednesday. However, the board noted that only Syrian, Russian and U.S.-led coalition aircraft had the capability to carry out such an attack, not opposition forces. It said it was "highly unlikely" that U.S.-led coalition aircraft were involved in the attack. The inquiry found that "multiple types of munitions deployed from more than one aircraft and aircraft type" struck the aid convoy. "The board stated that it did not have evidence to conclude that the incident was a deliberate attack on a humanitarian target," Ban's summary read. U.S. officials believed Russian aircraft were responsible for the strike, but Moscow denied involvement and the Russian Defense Ministry said a U.S. drone was in the area at the time of the attack. The Syrian army also said it was not to blame. A United Nations expert with UNOSAT (U.N. Operational Satellite Applications Programme), which reviews only commercially available satellite images, said in October that analysis of satellite imagery showed that it was an air strike. (Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Leslie Adler)