Syria War: Huge Bomb Kills Dozens Of Evacuees

Brunilde Fioravanti
Aprile 20, 2017

Under the evacuation deal, more than 2000 people, including rebel fighters, were granted safe passage out of Madaya, a town near Damascus besieged by government forces and their allies.

Madaya and Zabadani, which are predominantly Sunni, have been besieged since June 2015 by the Syrian army and fighters from Lebanon's Shia Muslim Hezbollah movement.A auto bomb has blasted a convoy of coaches carrying evacuees from government-held towns near Aleppo in Syria, reportedly killing 16 people.

As part of the deal, government forces are allowing thousands of rebels and civilians to leave two towns in southwest Syria: Madaya and Zabadani, according to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Pictures posted on state media showed what appeared to be the aftermath of the explosion, with burned bodies and fires belching out thick black smoke. The Observatory said more than 24 were killed and scores more wounded.

But the exchange later resumed, with coaches reaching safety on both sides.

"We are anxious about the reaction of the regime for what happened", he said. At least 70 people, including a number of young children, died in a toxic gas attack earlier this month in the town of Khan Sheikhoun.

Syrians, evacuated from two besieged government-held towns of Fuaa and Kafraya, flee into a field near the site of a suicide vehicle bombing that targeted their buses in Rashidin, west of Aleppo, on April 15.

This frame grab from video provided by the Thiqa News Agency, shows rebel gunmen at the site of a blast that damaged several buses and vans at the Rashideen area, a rebel-controlled district outside Aleppo city, Syria, Saturday, April.

The evacuation process resumed after the bombing, the Observatory said, with the residents of Fuaa and Kafraya eventually arriving in Aleppo, Syria's second-largest city, which the government gained full control of a year ago. An AFP correspondent, west of Aleppo speaking before the reports of an explosion, said coaches carrying government evacuees had not moved in 30 hours.

The rebels and residents of Madaya near Damascus were waiting at the government-held Ramousah bus garage, a few miles away.

Residents of al-Foua and Kefraya, the Shiite villages, were waiting in the Rashidin area.

Rebels had accused the government of breaching the terms of the deal, accusing it of trying to bring out more loyalist fighters than agreed, along with civilians.

Residents of Madaya and Zabadani, formerly summer resorts, joined the 2011 uprising against President Bashar Assad.

Foua and Kfraya, besieged by the rebels, lived under a steady hail of rockets and mortars.

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