Pentagon: No US aircraft flying during Syrian convoy attack

Pentagon: No US aircraft flying during Syrian convoy attack
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Responding to Russian allegations, the Pentagon said Wednesday it had no aircraft flying anywhere near where a humanitarian aid convoy that was struck Monday in Aleppo, Syria. 

"We can confirm that NONE of our aircraft -- manned or unmanned, U.S. or Coalition -- were anywhere in the vicinity of Aleppo when the strike against the humanitarian convoy occurred," said Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis.

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Russia claimed Wednesday that the U.S. had a Predator drone flying overhead when the convoy delivering aid to besieged civilians was struck on Monday, killing at least 20 civilians and destroying 18 of 31 trucks filled with aid. 

U.S. officials said Tuesday that intelligence showed two Russian bombers flying in the area at the time of the attack, which world leaders blasted as "appalling" and "sickening."

Sen. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinBipartisan Senators reintroduce legislation to slap new sanctions on Russia Baseball legend Frank Robinson, first black manager in MLB, dies at 83 Biden speaking to Dems on Capitol Hill as 2020 speculation mounts: report MORE (D-Md.), ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, said if found to be deliberate, the attack would amount to a war crime. 

The U.S. military on Tuesday said it would take several days to determine what happened, but officials say they'll hold Russia responsible if Russian or Syrian regime aircraft were involved.

"In any event, we hold the Russian government responsible for airstrikes in this space," Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters attending the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday evening.

The U.S. and Russia signed a temporary ceasefire agreement last week, calling for a reduction of violence for seven continuous days and the delivery of humanitarian aid. If the agreement held, the U.S. and Russia would begin military cooperation over Syria, where both are flying.

The U.S. began an air war in Syria in September 2014 against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and Russia began one in September 2015 to shore up Bashar Assad's regime against opposition rebels. 

The agreement, called a "cessation of hostilities" entered into force last Monday, but it is now on life support. 

Syria called the ceasefire over, but U.S. officials dismissed that declaration since the agreement was with Russia. 

Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryWarren taps longtime aide as 2020 campaign manager In Virginia, due process should count more than blind team support Trump will give State of Union to sea of opponents MORE said Tuesday morning that the ceasefire was not dead, and on Wednesday, he called for the grounding of aircraft over humanitarian routes to allow aid to be delivered.

"We must move forward to try to immediately ground all aircraft flying in those key areas in order to de-escalate the situation and give a chance for humanitarian aid to flow unimpeded," he said at a United Nations Security Council meeting on Syria. "And if that happens, there's a chance of giving credibility back to this process."