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Over 100 killed in Aleppo blast

By Ap-xinhua | China Daily | Updated: 2017-04-17 07:33

 Over 100 killed in Aleppo blast

Syrian children, wounded in a suicide car bombing that targeted their buses in Rashideen, west of Aleppo, as they were being evacuated from the besieged government-held towns of Fuaa and Kafraya, receive treatment at a hospital in the government-held part of Aleppo on Saturday.Afp

Attack made in car carrying food aid to rebel-held area

BEIRUT - A stalled population transfer resumed on Saturday after a deadly explosion killed at least 100, including children, government supporters and opposition fighters, at an evacuation point adding new urgency to the widely criticized operation.

The blast ripped through a bus depot in the Rashideen area where thousands of government loyalists evacuated the day before waited restlessly for hours, as opposition fighters guarded the area while negotiators bickered over the completion of the transfer deal. Only meters away, hundreds of evacuees from pro-rebels areas also loitered in a walled-off parking lot, guarded by government troops.

Footage from the scene showed bodies, including those of fighters, lying alongside buses, some of which were charred and others gutted from the blast. Personal belongings could be seen dangling out of the windows. Fires raged from a number of vehicles as rescuers struggled to put them out.

The so-called Jaish al-Islam claimed responsibility for the attack against the evacuees, who were stuck in the rebel-held area of Rashideen west of Aleppo waiting for their transportation toward government-controlled areas in Aleppo.

The scenes were the latest in the unyielding bloodshed Syrians are living through. Earlier this month, at least 89 people were killed in a chemical attack as children foaming at the mouth and adults gasping for breath were also caught on camera.

The bloody mayhem that followed the Saturday attack only deepened the resentment of the transfer criticized as population engineering. It also reflected the chaos surrounding negotiations between the warring parties. The United Nations did not oversee the transfer deal of the villages of Foua and Kfraya, besieged by the rebels, and Madaya and Zabadani, encircled by the government.

Pro-government media and the opposition exchanged accusations, each pointing to foreign interference or conspiracies undermining the deal.

State TV al-Ikhbariya said the attack was the result of a car bomb carrying food aid to be delivered to the evacuees in the rebel-held area, ostensibly crisps for the children, and accused rebel groups of carrying it out. A TV broadcaster from the area said: "There can be no life with the terrorist groups."

"I know nothing of my family. I can't find them," said a woman who appeared on al-Ikhbariya, weeping outside the state hospital in Aleppo where the wounded were transported.

Ahrar al-Sham, the rebel group that negotiated the deal, denounced the "cowardly" attack, saying a number of opposition fighters as well as government supporters were killed in the attack. The group said the attack only serves to deflect the attention from government "crimes" and said it was ready to cooperate with an international probe to determine who did it.

Yasser Abdelatif, a media official for Ahrar al-Sham, said about 30 rebel gunmen were killed in the blast. He accused the government or extremist rebel groups of orchestrating the attack to discredit the opposition.

 

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