Monitor says 112 people killed as explosion targets convoy of evacuees from two pro-government villages.
A large blast has killed more than 110 people in an attack near buses carrying Syrians evacuated from two besieged government-held towns, according to a monitoring group.
The explosion on Saturday in Rashidin, west of Aleppo, targeted residents who were evacuated from the rebel-besieged towns of Foua and Kefraya in Idlib province under a deal reached between the Syrian government and rebels.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) on Sunday said at least 112 people were killed in the blast, raising a previous death toll of 43.
The Syrian Civil Defence, a volunteer rescue group that operates in rebel-held parts of Syria, had said on Saturday that at least 100 people were killed, while a report on Syrian state TV had given a death toll of 39.
While there was no confirmation as to what caused the blast, state media said a “suicide bomber” allegedly used a van meant for carrying aid supplies to enter the area. The SOHR said the explosion came from a vehicle-born improvised explosive device.
Al Jazeera’s Adham Abul Hussam, reporting from the scene of the attack, said dozens of bodies littered the ground and ambulances were packed with victims.
“The civil defence teams are recovering the bodies and searching for survivors. Many of the buses were totally destroyed,” he said.
Pictures posted on state media showed what appeared to be the aftermath of the explosion, with burned bodies and fires belching out thick-black smoke.
Buses were blackened by the blast with their windows blown out.
“It appears that the explosion happened at the front of the convoy, which is about 70-buses long. Apparently it happened in an area where the sick and the injured were either being transferred or swapped,” Al Jazeera’s Hoda Abdel-Hamid said, reporting from Antakya in Turkey.
“We do understand that the casualties go into the dozens … among them women and children and some of the rebel fighters that were there to secure that convoy.”
Ahrar al-Sham, a key rebel group in Syria’s north, condemned the”cowardly” attack, saying that many of its members were killed in the blast. The group said it was willing to cooperate with an international probe to determine the culprits.
The attack took place as thousands of evacuees from the besieged government-held towns of Foua and Kefraya waited to continue their journey to regime-controlled Aleppo, the coastal province of Latakia, or the capital, Damascus.
More than 5,000 people who had lived under the crippling siege for more than two years left the two towns, along with 2,200 evacuated from rebel-held Madaya and Zabadani, on Friday.
Source By http://www.aljazeera.com