Death toll in bomb attack on Syria evacuees rises to 112
24 April, 2017, 05:12 | Author: Jeff Stephens
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.
No organisation has claimed responsibility for the attack, which pro-Damascus media said was carried out by a suicide auto bomber.
Those killed were mostly residents of the villages of al-Foua and Kefraya in Idlib province.
Numerous residents still waiting for evacuation now fear reprisal attacks.
The evacuees were being transferred from al-Fouaa and Kefraya to Syrian army-controlled areas in Aleppo, when a auto bomb suddenly exploded in the area where vehicles and ambulances that accompanied the convoy were parked. A rebel official said at least 30 of his fighters guarding evacuees died in the blast.
The evacuation deal, brokered by Qatar and Iran, sees thousands of government supporters in rebel-held Foua and Kafraya granted safe passage out in exchange for thousands of opposition supporters in the government-besieged towns of Madaya and Zabadani, in a complex population swap.
Afandar said people were not allowed to leave the buses for a while before they were let out.
Madaya and Zabadani, once summer resorts to Damascus, have been shattered under the cruelty of a government siege.
The source told DPA that a number of Lebanon's "Hezbollah" members escaped from the transit point of buses and had benefited from the chaos produced by the explosion to enter areas controlled by the Syrian regime forces.
People waiting in the Ramousah garage heard the blast, and said they feared revenge attacks by pro-government forces. "All these thousands of people are stuck" in an area smaller than 500 yards. Johnson said al-Assad's ally Moscow still had time to be on the "right side of the argument", in a Sunday Telegraph newspaper article.
The evacuees from Madaya headed to rebel-held Idlib, west of Aleppo.
Syrian state TV blamed the rebels for obstructing the deal. "Assad uses chemical weapons because they are not only frightful and indiscriminate".
The attack on a convoy of civilians fleeing the besieged towns of al-Foua and Kfraya, outside Aleppo, marked a "new horror that must break the heart of anyone who has one", said Anthony Lake, UNICEF's executive director.
It was unclear who carried out Saturday's bombing attack. "Iran is a powerful country, and people like Mr. Trump or the United States administration can not hurt Iran", he said.
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