Car bomb strikes near evacuating Syrians

Kristopher Drake
April 16, 2017

A suicide vehicle bomb has hit a convoy of buses carrying civilians out of two besieged Syrian towns, killing at least 43 people and wounding several others.

The explosion hit an area where buses carrying almost 5000 people from Foua and Kfraya, villages in northern Syria that have been besieged by rebels.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported casualties, saying the explosion appeared to be caused by a bomb.

About 5,000 people were evacuated on 75 buses from two pro-government towns in northern Syria to the nearby city of Aleppo, said Abdul Hakim Baghdadi, who helped negotiate the arrangement.

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.

In return, pro-regime fighters and residents from the Shiite villages of al-Foua and Kefraya, both surrounded by Idlib opposition fighters, have left the area and reached Aleppo's outskirts.

Other evacuation deals in recent months have included areas of Aleppo and a district in the city of Homs.

The blast happened after thousands of Syrians being evacuated from their besieged towns had spent the night on buses at an exchange point.

At least 80 buses left Fuaa and Kafraya in Idlib province in the northwest, an AFP correspondent in rebel-held territory said.


The coordinated evacuations delivered war-weary fighters and residents from two years of siege and hunger, but moved Syria closer to a division of its national population by loyalty and sect.

Almost 40 people have lost their lives and several others sustained injuries when a powerful bomb explosion struck near several buses carrying people from two Shia-majority villages in Syria's northwestern province of Idlib, as they were waiting to enter the city of Aleppo.

However, a delay in the agreement has reportedly left thousands of evacuated people stranded at two transit points on Aleppo's outskirts since late Friday.

Salloum Salloum, a lawmaker speaking on the pro-government al-Ikhbariya TV channel, said efforts were underway to resolve the problem, accusing the rebels of adding new conditions to the deal.

In Syria's south, the opposition-held town of Madaya has endured a siege so tight that dozens have starved to death.

Amer Burhan, 50, the director for Zabadani's field hospital, said he expects the young fighters in Zabadani to join the fronts in northern Syria to resume fighting government forces.

They are also causing demographic changes because those who are displaced are usually Sunni Muslims, like most of the opposition.

"We are not moving forward or backward", he said. Assad's Alawite religious minority is often considered an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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