More than 100 people, being removed from two regime enclaves in northwest Syria, were killed on Saturday by the bombing of their convoy west of Aleppo city.
The explosion struck the convoy, with fighters and residents from the enclaves of al-Fu’ah and Kafraya in Idlib Province, in the Rashideen district. The White Helmets civil defense organization, which worked with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent in retrieving bodies and rescuing victims, said another 55 people were injured. A spokesman for the leading rebel faction Ahrar al-Sham said one-third of the casualties were rebels accompanying the convoy.
Witnesses said the bomb appeared to be carried in a truck which was distributing potato chips to people who had been waiting for hours because of a hold-up in the agreement for passage for the convoy.
— WorldOnAlert (@worldonalert) April 16, 2017
No one claimed responsibility for the attack, leading to speculation and allegations over whether it was the anti-Assad bloc Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, a rebel element, a regime group, or the Islamic State.
The convoy was part of removals of fighters and civilians under a “4 Towns” deal covering both the regime enclaves, north of Idlib city, and the besieged opposition towns of Madaya and Zabadani in Damascus Province. The transfers — to reach about 10,000 from al-Fu’ah and Kafraya, and about 2,000 from Madaya and Zabadani — began on Friday, but the buses on both sides were held up on Saturday for hours before the attack west of Aleppo.
Later on Saturday, 15 buses from the enclaves reached Aleppo, while eight buses from the Damascus towns made it to Rashideen.
Very important video with English coments on the explosion today on the evacuation convoy which killed 70civilians and 30 opposition fighter pic.twitter.com/OMnB7hWFV6
— Asaad Hanna (@AsaadHannaa) April 15, 2017
— مناع ابوتوجان عسيري (@manna987) April 15, 2017
An Al Jazeera journalist carries a young victim:
Claimed image of a rebel helping a regime soldier: