Car bomb kills at least 39 Syria evacuees

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16 April, 2017

According to a Sputnik source in Aleppo, the blast supposedly was caused by a suicide attacker who detonated an explosive device. In footage aired on Syrian TV, bodies were strewn outside buses, including fighters.

The Syrian government and rebels evacuated more than 7,000 people from four besieged towns Friday in the latest coordinated population transfer in Syria's six-year-long civil war. "Whatever we will say we will not be able to express our feelings, it is very hard to leave our village, our land, our neighbourhood", explained activist Abdul-Wahab Ahmad.

British-based monitor the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights counted 24 dead and dozens more wounded.

It was unclear who carried out Saturday's bombing attack.

The government and rebels disagreed over the number of gunmen to be evacuated, leaving the buses stuck.

A major Syrian rebel group says many of its members were killed in a blast that hit an evacuation gathering point of government supporters, saying it will cooperate with an worldwide probe to determine the culprits.

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

Syrian state media said at least 39 were killed.

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Ahmed Afandar, a resident evacuated from his home town near Madaya, said dozens of buses carrying women, children and men were not being allowed to proceed toward rebel-held Idlib as planned.

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

They were headed for regime or rebel-held areas via government-held second city Aleppo. It was not immediately clear if al-Hakim was the same French national USA officials said was killed in an airstrike in Syria in November 2016. The evacuation of Fua and Kefraya residents is a part of a deal between the Syrian government and militants.

Syria's population is mostly Sunni.

"When I first went onto the bus, I broke down from sadness, I fell on the ground and they had to help me", said Fuaa resident Abu Hussein.

In the a year ago alone, the government has uprooted residents and gunmen from the towns of Moadamiyeh, Hameh, Qudsaya, Darayya and the Barada Valley around the capital, as well as once rebellious neighborhoods of Aleppo and Homs, Syria's largest and third-largest cities, respectively.

Syria's opposition says the evacuation deals, which include areas of Aleppo and a district in the city of Homs, amount to forced displacement of Assad's opponents from Syria's main urban centres in the west of the country.


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