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

Omar haj kadour

Omar haj kadour

Footage from the scene showed bodies, including those of fighters, lying alongside buses, some of which were charred and others gutted from the blast.

The death toll in a terrorist attack on buses carrying Syrians evacuated from two government-held towns in the country's Idlib province has risen to at least 118.

"Iraq also calls on the worldwide community to make this disgusting crime, which has claimed the lives of dozens of children, women and the elderly, enough reason to show seriousness in solving the Syrian crisis peacefully and away from the pursuit of some countries to achieve their political interests", the ministry said in a statement. A photo carried by al-Ikhbariya state TV showed a number of bodies strewn on the floor with a huge plume of black smoke rising in the background.

At least 100 people, including many children, have been killed in a suicide bombing near Aleppo that struck a bus convoy evacuating people from besieged villages, after a deal between Syria's warring sides stalled.

The evacuation started on Friday, with 5,000 Shiites leaving Kafaraya and Foah, and 2,300 rebels and their families leaving the town of Madaya.

An AFP correspondent west of Aleppo, speaking before the explosion, said the coaches carrying government evacuees had not moved in 30 hours.

The evacuees were bound for regime-held parts of Aleppo.

Meanwhile, a high-ranking source at the opposition accused the Syrian regime of planning the explosion, adding that the auto bomb that arrived to the convoy of buses "came from a pro-regime area and carried food". However, the agency said it was unlikely the attack was perpetrated by the regime as the victims were its supporters.

"We are anxious about the reaction of the regime for what happened", he said. Last month, the United Nations described the situation in the pro-government north-western towns of Foah and Kefraya, and the rebel-held towns of Madaya and Zabadani near Damascus, as "catastrophic".

At the moment, no one is taking responsibility but the government is blaming the rebels. They were at the site to ensure the convoy's passage, Ahrar al-Sham said.

It's not clear, according to Sinjab, precisely who is responsible for the blast, although there is speculation regarding just how the vehicle was able to get so close to the convoy without having had government permission.

Thousands of evacuees from Madaya and Zabadani were also stuck in government-controlled Ramusa, south of Aleppo.

Some reports claimed children were lured to the epicentre of the blast by the offer of free swets and potato chips.

A major Syrian rebel group says many of its members were killed in a blast that hit an evacuation gathering point of government supporters, saying it will cooperate with an worldwide probe to determine the culprits.

The deal was brokered by Iran and Qatar, Agence France-Presse reported.

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