The Russian Defense Ministry said on Tuesday that neither Russian nor Syrian war planes had struck a humanitarian convoy near Aleppo the previous day, saying the convoy’s whereabouts had only been known to militants on the ground.
The Syrian Red Crescent said the head of one of its local offices and “around 20 civilians” were killed in the attack. The U.S. State Department said it was “outraged” by the bombing and would be raising the matter directly with Russia.
Igor Konashenkov, a spokesman for the Russian military, denied any Russian involvement in the attack in a statement read out on the state-run Rossiya 24 TV channel on Tuesday however.
“All information on the whereabouts of the convoy was available only to the militants controlling these areas,” Konashenkov said.
That appeared to contradict a statement by U.N. humanitarian aid spokesman Jens Laerke, who told reporters in Geneva earlier on Tuesday, that Russia had been notified about the convoy in advance.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov earlier on Tuesday made a series of gloomy comments on Syria, saying the situation was “a source of great concern” and that there was little hope for a renewal of a ceasefire there.