Red Crescent convoy to Madaya attacked near Damascus – ICRC

A Red Crescent convoy on a rescue mission to the Syrian town of Madaya northwest of Damascus came under heavy shelling, according to a spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The vehicles were to deliver humanitarian aid to the western town of Madaya and evacuate four people in serious condition on an overnight mission that began Wednesday evening, Rafiulla Qureshi, a spokesperson for ICRC in Damascus, told RT.

Despite the concentrated fire, the coordinators and two doctors managed to survive the attack. The mission had to be put on hold for several hours, but the four people were eventually rescued.

“Yesterday’s incident could have been lethal, we were lucky. It was a close call, but nobody was injured,” Qureshi said.

Cars bearing the Red Cross or Red Crescent symbols should not be targeted under any circumstances, he stressed.

The organization is planning to talk to the Syrian government about “more coordination in the future missions” so that these kinds of attacks can be prevented.

Video from Syria’s state news agency, Sana, shows a Red Crescent car riddled with multiple bullet holes.

It has not yet been established who carried out the attack.

More than 80 cars transporting UN and the Red Cross humanitarian aid have been dispatched to Madaya over the last fortnight, according to Sana. However, a good deal of the supplies have been seized by opposition militants, who then resell them at higher prices, local residents told the agency.

People in the town of Madaya, which is currently under siege by pro-government forces, are said to be dying of starvation as rebels charge ridiculously high prices for food items. Nearly 400 residents are in life-threatening condition and require medical attention, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in January. The first aid convoys carrying water, baby food, blankets, medicines, and surgical supplies entered the town the same month.