On April 15, 2017, a car bomb targeted a convoy near Aleppo, killing 39 evacuees, according to Syrian media.
Iran and Qatar created the “Four Towns” arrangement to remove civilians from hostile territories. Evacuees have been stranded in Foah, Kefraya, Madaya, and Zabadani since Friday. Two of the towns are under government control and the others are rebel held. It was reported that 30,000 people were to be evacuated.
The AFP news agency states that 7,200 civilians are trapped.
A suicide bomber was driving a van in the convoy that was supposed to contain supplies. Syrian evacuees were waiting at the Aleppo checkpoint, for the exchange, when the explosion occurred. Some sources report, as many as, 60 people were killed.
Evacuees from Madaya and Zabadani were being transferred to rebel-held, Idlib. People from Madaya stated they have been in an Aleppo bus garage, since Friday, without food and water. They hold the deal brokers responsible for everyone’s safety.
An eyewitness described the scene, “You can see tens of burnt out cars. Bodies everywhere.” Emergency medical crews are moving the wounded to safety and the dead from the road. Russian soldiers are shielding rebel evacuees and closed the road to prevent retaliation.
Arab affairs editor for the BBC, Sebastian Usher, said a smaller exchange was previously attempted but failed. AFP reported, before the explosion, the convoy had not moved in 30 hours. Passengers included 3,700 civilians. The Syrian Red Crescent provided food and water while they waited.
Rebels are blaming the government regime, stating Bashar Assad went against the arrangement in order to evacuate more loyalists.
Written by Jeanette Smith
BBC: Syria war: Huge bomb kills dozens of evacuees in Syria
Image by Mstyslav Chernov Courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons License