68 children among dead in bomb attack on Syria evacuees

Frederick Owens
April 17, 2017

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 vehicle bomb has blasted a convoy of coaches carrying evacuees from government-held towns near Aleppo in Syria, reportedly killing 16 people.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which pro-government media said was carried out by a suicide auto bomber. "We're sad and angry about what has happened".

The evacuees had been allowed to leave their villages this week as part of a Shia-Sunni exchange agreement between Syria and insurgents who have been fighting a civil war for six years. He said the regime kills scores of people daily using all types of weaponry and doesn't need to kill its own sympathizers.

The yesterday blast in Rashidin, west of Aleppo, targeted residents who were evacuated from the rebel-besieged towns of Fouaa and Kefraya in Idlib province under a deal reached between the Syrian government and rebels.

They had been waiting to cross from rebel into regime territory.

The group says it is starting a probe into the cause of the attack, and said it is ready to cooperate with an global investigation to determine who carried it out.

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The bombing was condemned by the rebel group Ahrar al-Sham, which said that they were securing the civilians at the time.

It's the same with Madaya and Zabadani, as the army entered Madaya on Friday following the evacuation of the first batch of rebels and their families.

The evacuation process resumed after the bombing, the Observatory said, with the residents of Fuaa and Kafraya eventually arriving in Aleppo, Syria's second city which the government gained full control of past year.

The deal was brokered by Iran and Qatar, Agence France-Presse reported.

More than 5,000 people left Fuaa and Kafraya and about 2,200 left Madaya and Zabadani on Friday, the latest in a series of evacuations from the four towns under the agreement.

"International humanitarian law is very clear: warring parties must protect civilians and distinguish between military and civilian targets", he underscored. The absence of the United Nations and global community from this process has left the civilian populations especially vulnerable, leading to horrific events such as what took place today.

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