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Death toll from Aleppo bus convoy bomb attack at least 126: Observatory

21 April 2017

A powerful bomb on Saturday hit buses carrying hundreds of people fleeing besieged Syrian towns, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, resulting in deaths of at least 112 people.

Almost 70 children were among those killed when a suicide vehicle bomb tore through buses carrying evacuees from besieged government-held towns in Syria, a monitor said yesterday.

The evacuation deal, brokered by Qatar and Iran, sees thousands of government supporters in rebel-held Foua and Kafraya granted safe passage out in exchange for thousands of opposition supporters in the government-besieged towns of Madaya and Zabadani, in a complex population swap.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has strongly condemned today a terrorist attack in Syria against a convoy of buses evacuating 5,000 civilians and armed opponents who made a decision to leave their terrorist-besieged towns.

"United Nations relief coordinator Stephen O'Brien said he was "horrified"' by the deadly bombing, and that while the United Nations was not involved in the transfer it was ready to "'scale up our support to evacuees". "I condemn it and call for those responsible to be brought to justice", he said in a statement.

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It added that the Saturday bombing complemented the U.S. attack on the Shayrat Airfield in Homs Province with a barrage of 59 Tomahawk missiles on April 7, which caused some 15 fatalities, including civilians.

The UN Children's Fund has condemned the killing of more than 60 children in a recent Aleppo bomb attack targeting evacuees.

A deadly explosion killed at least 100 people in near buses carrying Syrians evacuated from two besieged government-held towns.

But a delay in the agreement had left all those evacuated stuck at two transit points on Aleppo's outskirts since late on Friday. Both came under government siege in the ensuing civil war.

Thousands were leaving Madaya and Zabadani, including more than 2,000 rebel fighters, their families and other civilians, the monitoring group said.

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Residents of Madaya and Zabadani, formerly summer resorts, joined the 2011 uprising against President Bashar Assad.

The evacuation has moved the country closer to a division of its national population along loyalty and sect lines.

An opposition representative, Ali Diab, told the pan-Arab Al-Arabiya TV that fewer armed men than agreed to were evacuated from the pro-government areas, violating the terms of the deal.

Afandar said people were not allowed to leave the buses for a while before they were let out.

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Death toll from Aleppo bus convoy bomb attack at least 126: Observatory