Written by 2:40 pm Lifestyle, Uncategorized

126 Killed in Syria as Bomb Hits Evacuee Buses

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The total number of deaths resulting from a bomb attack aimed at evacuees leaving besieged Syrian towns has escalated to an alarming 126, according to a monitoring group’s report this past Sunday.

The impact of the bomb hit a group of buses on Saturday, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which actually estimated the death toll to be higher the one released by the monitoring group.

The blast harmed the buses of people who were in the midst of abandoning their towns as part of a rebel-regime swap. Thus, roughly 109 of the people killed in this bombing were evacuees from the pro-regime Shia villages of Al-Fu’ah and Kafraya. Meanwhile, according to the Syrian Observatory, the remainder of the killed in the attack were aid workers and rebels guarding the convoy.

Based on the reports, it appears that at least 68 children were among those killed in the Saturday attack.

Furthermore, besides the deaths, the bombing also injured multiple others. As of now, according to the Syria Civil Defense, commonly referred to as the White Helmets, the attack also resulted in the injury of roughly 55 other civilians in Rashidin, which is a suburb of Aleppo.

The convoy of buses was parked at the time of the attack. The buses were focused on carrying thousands of people from two villages in northwestern Syria that were regime-held yet rebel-besieged, state-run media reported. Thus, the people were attempting to leave these villages were carrying on with their daily lives seemed virtually impossible amid the political and factional tensions.

People were also fleeing two other rebel-occupied towns in Syria, in the southwest of the country in this case, at the same time under a recently established Four Towns Agreement, which many were weary of.

Video recording of the horrific event has been shown on Syrian state television, displaying the charred buses parked on the side of a road. The civilians walked outside the buses as they charted the damage, which included multiple bodies lying on the roadway and a grassy area.

These evacuees targeted in the attack were headed for parts of Aleppo currently under control of the regime.

The state-run Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) revealed that the convoy of buses continued on after the attack, and the first buses of the group got to Aleppo late on Saturday. Meanwhile, the buses going to the area of Jebrin towards a provisional housing center were equipped with food and medical supplies, according to SANA.

Additionally, up to the present, no group has claimed responsibility for the bombing.

During an interview that was shown on television, the director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdul Rahman, revealed a new development that a suicide bomber alleged he was carrying food items and the blew himself up in a fuel station.

Abdul Rahman maintained that he does not believe the Syrian regime is the culprit of the attack. He said the regime kills an uncountable number of people each day, making use of all types of weaponry, and thus has no logical reason to kill its own supporters.

The evacuees on the attacked buses had been permitted to escape their villages this week as a condition included in a Shia-Sunni exchange agreement between Syria and rebels, who have been in locked combat as a result of a civil war which has been actively occurring over the past six years.

As part of this deal, government forces are granting thousands of rebels and civilians the chance to leave two towns located in southwest Syria—Madaya and Zabadani—according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Madaya and Zabadani have been under the fixed control of anti-government combatants, but are currently dealing with a blockade from forces that support the regime.

The rebel group Ahrar al-Sham took to Twitter to communicate that some of its members had died in the bombing. They were present at the site of the attack to ensure the convoy of buses would be able to pass, Ahrar al-Sham stated. The group also revealed that it was in the process of investigating the case to uncover the true culprits of the attack.

The explosion occurred exactly as both groups of evacuees had stopped in separate sites outside of Aleppo. Each convoy was on its way to areas controlled by forces they sympathized with.

The car where the explosives were carried had been filled with children’s food supplies, likely as an attempt to conceal their malicious intentions, a SANA correspondent reported.

The convoy that departed Al-Fu’ah and Kafriya contained about 5,000 people, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. In the cases of Madaya and Zabadani, among the thousands of civilians in the process of fleeing these villages were over 2,000 rebel fighters, their families and other civilians, the monitoring group affirmed.

Agence France-Presse reported that this deal was made with intervention by Iran and Qatar in the brokering process.

In a statement on the matter, the spokesperson for the U.N. Secretary-General stated that: “The evacuations were being conducted in accordance with the agreement reached pursuant to the Four Towns agreement. … We call on the parties to ensure the safety and security of those waiting to be evacuated. Those responsible for today’s attack must be brought to justice.”

The Syrian American Medical Council, in turn, released a statement on the matter as well, declaring that, “This forced displacement is a clear violation of international humanitarian law, and marks yet another sad chapter in the history of this crisis. The absence of the UN and international community from this process has left the civilian populations especially vulnerable, leading to horrific events such as what took place today.”

The council continued on to plea for global empathy and support: “The UN must not abandon its role in protecting innocent civilians and enforcing international humanitarian laws.”

Featured Image via Wikimedia.

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