Syria:100 killed in explosion near buses carrying evacuees

Remigio Civitarese
Aprile 21, 2017

The evacuation of 30,000 Syrian civilians is part of the "Four Towns" deal brokered to alleviate the suffering of those caught in Syria's besieged towns.

A picture taken on April 16, 2017, shows the damage inside a bus a day after a suicide vehicle bombing attack in Rashidin, west of Aleppo, targeted busses carrying Syrians evacuated from two besieged government-held towns of Fuaa and Kafraya.

The Pope used his Easter Sunday message to denounce the "latest vile attack" on Syrian civilians, in which at least 126 were believed killed, more than half of them children, as thousands gathered at the Vatican's St. Peter's Square to hear him speak.

Almost 70 children were among those killed when a suicide auto bomb tore through buses carrying evacuees from besieged government-held towns in Syria, a monitor said yesterday.

The influential rebel Ahrar al-Sham force denied involvement, with a senior official tweeting: "Our role was to secure civilians not kill them".

But pro-government media and the opposition exchanged accusations, each pointing to foreign interference or conspiracies undermining the deal.

Syria state TV reported the transfer process resumed hours after the explosion, with dozens of wounded transported.

"This continuing infernal cycle of such extreme violence underlines yet again the urgent need for practical progress towards peace in Syria to end the bloodshed", said WCC general secretary Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit on hearing of the attack.

That convoy was waiting at a bus garage in a government-held area on Aleppo's outskirts, a few kilometres from where the attack took place.

Madaya and Zabadani, once summer resorts to Damascus, have been shattered under the cruelty of a government siege.

Fuaa and Kafraya have been under rebel siege for more than two years.

The contentious transfer of the population, hammered out after rebels lost control of Aleppo in December, stalled overnight as the government and rebels argued over who should be evacuated.

It was not immediately clear if the evacuees feared attacks similar to Saturday's bombing.

"We call on the parties to ensure the safety and security of those waiting to be evacuated".

We urge all parties involved in to guarantee the safety of people who are now seeking for safer places and call for prosecution of those responsible for this attack, he said.

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

Residents of Foua and Kfraya have lived under a steady hail of rockets and mortars for years, but were supplied with food and medicine through military airdrops.

The evacuation has moved the country closer to a division of its national population along loyalty and sect lines. "Many people felt that they had been forced to leave", he said.

The buses had been carrying people from pro-government areas and from opposition towns.

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