Car bomb attack on Syria evacuees kills 112

Dhaka,  Wed,  20 September 2017
Published : 16 Apr 2017, 21:24:02

Car bomb attack on Syria evacuees kills 112

It draws condemnation from UN, Pope
RASHIDIN (Syria), Apr 16 (Agencies): The death toll from a bomb blast on a crowded Syrian bus convoy outside Aleppo reached at least 112 people, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said on Sunday.

Syrian rescue workers said that they had carted away at least 100 bodies from the site of Saturday's blast, which hit buses carrying Shia residents as they waited to cross from the rebel-held area into the government territory in an evacuation deal between warring sides.

A Xinhua report adds: The United Nations (UN) condemned on Saturday the attack on 5,000 evacuees traveling to government-controlled areas.

"We condemn the attack today in Rashideen, west Aleppo, on 5,000 evacuees traveling from the towns of Foah and Kefraya to government-controlled areas," said Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, in a statement.

"We express our condolences to the families of the victims of the incident and wish those injured a speedy recovery," he said.

Pope Francis urged an end to "horror and death" in Syria and implored God to bring peace to the Middle East as he delivered the traditional Easter Day mass in Rome on Sunday.

The Easter mass, the highlight of the Christian calendar began under a cloudy sky where worshippers had gathered since the early hours to gain access amid tight security.

After a short bout of heavy rain, the pontiff gave his traditional Urbi et Orbi blessing, to the city and the world, in which he prayed for those suffering from war, famine and political unrest, highlighting Syria, but also Ukraine and conflict zones in Africa.

A massive car bomb attack on a convoy carrying evacuees from besieged government-held towns in Syria killed more than 100 people and wounded hundreds, a monitor said on Sunday.

The blast on Saturday tore through buses carrying residents from the northern towns of Fuaa and Kafraya as they waited at a transit point in rebel-held Rashidin, west of Aleppo.

The evacuations were taking place under a deal between Syria's regime and rebels that is also seeing residents and rebels transported out of Madaya and Zabadani, towns near Damascus which are surrounded by pro-government forces.

The agreement is the latest in a string of evacuation deals, which the government of President Bashar al-Assad says are the best way to end the violence after more than six years of civil war.

Pro-Damascus media outlets said a suicide attacker had detonated a car bomb and killed at least 22 people. Images posted by the outlets showed bodies lying next to charred buses with their windows blown out, and flaming vehicles belching out thick black smoke.

The blast hit buses in the Rashidin area on Aleppo's outskirts, which had been waiting to cross from rebel-held territory into the government-controlled city itself, carrying people evacuated from two Shia villages on Friday.

The shattered buses were parked nearby as was the shell of the pick-up truck-with little left but its engine block-that was used to carry out the bombing.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing, though the key Ahrar al-Sham rebel group denied any involvement. The government blamed "terrorists"-a catch-all term for its opponents.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group, said Sunday that at least 112 people had died, after giving an initial toll of 43 dead on Saturday.

At least 98 of the dead were evacuees, it said, with the rest aid workers and rebels who had been guarding the convoy.

Hundreds of people were wounded in the blast, said the Observatory, which relies on a network of sources inside Syria to monitor the conflict.
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