Syria war: John Kerry urges planes to be grounded

Source: BBC

The US Secretary of State has called for all planes to be grounded in key areas of Syria to save the truce there, following an attack on an aid convoy.

In a blistering speech at the United Nations, John Kerry said the future of Syria was “hanging by a thread”.

He said Monday’s attack, which killed 20 civilians, had raised profound doubt over whether Russia and the Syrian government would live up to the terms of the ceasefire deal.

Moscow has denied being involved.

The Russian defence ministry now says a US drone was in the area where the aid convoy was struck.

Gen Igor Konashenkov said a Predator strike drone appeared above the convoy several minutes before it caught fire, and left the area 30 minutes later.

“We are not jumping to unfounded conclusions. Only its owners know why the drone was in the area at the right time and what kind of tasks it was pursuing there,” the general said.

He did not directly accuse the US of firing on the aid convoy from a drone but pointedly said that such a drone could carry out high-precision strikes against targets on the ground.

His comments follow Mr Kerry’s declaration that Russia should stand up and take responsibility for air strikes, criticising Russia’s defence ministry for changing its story.

He said he felt like Russia was in “a parallel universe” after listening to his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov address the council.

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