Assad: US airstrike on Syrian troops 'intentional'

Syrian President Bashar al Assad has claimed a US airstrike that killed around 60 of his soldiers was "definitely intentional".

He said US aerial raids lasted an hour and also blamed the United States for the collapse of a ceasefire which was brokered with Russia.

America had admitted responsibility for Saturday's strike in the Deir al Zour province, but claimed it was an accident.

The US Central Command said the attack was "halted immediately" when Russia warned it could be hitting Syrian troops.

America said the intended target had been Islamic State forces in the area.

Mr Assad also rejected claims Syrian or Russian planes hit an aid convoy in Aleppo and denied his troops were preventing food from entering the rebel-held part of the city.

Speaking to Associated Press, he said: "If there's really a siege around the city of Aleppo, people would have been dead by now."

He also asked how rebels were able to smuggle in arms but apparently not food or medicine.

The US believes Monday's convoy airstrike, which killed 20 workers, was carried out by a Russian jet.

But the president said: "Whatever they say, it's just lies."

Moscow, which backs his government, has denied responsibility for the attack.

Washington supports what it calls "moderate" rebels and both say they are committed to fighting IS and al Qaeda.

In an extensive interview in Damascus, the president also predicted the five-year civil war would "drag on" due to what he claimed was continued external backing for his opponents.

And he said the US "doesn't have the will" to join Russia in fighting Islamic militants in his country.

The United Nations has re-started aid supplies in Syria as a convoy travelled to a besieged district of rural Damascus.

Aid operations had been halted so security could be reviewed in the wake of Monday's deadly attack on the Red Cross convoy .

The UN has now delivered medical supplies to the rebel-held suburb of Moadamiya in the capital and hopes to travel to Aleppo and other parts of Syria in the near future.

The developments come ahead of a meeting of the International Syria Support Group, chaired by the US and Russia and made up of about 20 countries involved in the conflict.

Key players in the civil war will resume diplomatic efforts in New York later to save the troubled ceasefire deal and plot a path towards ending the civil war.