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21 April 2017, 04:29 | Erica Roy
Syrians stuck around Aleppo as evacuation deal stalls: monitor, activists
Hundreds of people were wounded in the blast, said the Observatory, which relies on a network of sources inside Syria to monitor the conflict. People were evacuating two rebel-held towns in southwest Syria at the same time under a so-called Four Towns Agreement.
Video shown on Syrian state-run television showed heavily damaged and burned buses parked on the side of a road.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said the delay was because opposition groups from Zabadani, one of the towns included in the deal, had not yet been granted safe passage out.
There has been no claim of responsibility for the attack.
"May (God) in a particular way sustain the efforts of those who are actively working to bring healing and comfort to the civilian population of Syria, the beloved and martyred". A rebel fighter stands near buses carrying people evacuated from the two villages of Kefraya and FoahImage copyrightREUTERS Image caption Dozens of buses are being used in the evacuation The evacuees are meant to be transferred to rebel-held territory in Idlib province.
The blast ripped through a bus depot in the al-Rashideen area where thousands of government loyalists evacuated the day before had waited restlessly for hours.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which state media said was carried out by a suicide vehicle bomber.
The rebel group Ahrar al-Sham tweeted that some of its members died in the blast.
A wounded girl, who said she lost her four siblings in the blast, told Al-Manar TV from her hospital bed that children who had been deprived of food for years in the two villages were approached by a man in the auto who told them to come and eat potato chips.
In return, pro-regime fighters and residents from the Shiite villages of al-Foua and Kefraya, both surrounded by Idlib opposition fighters, have left the area and reached Aleppo's outskirts.
On Sunday, residents and local officials in government-controlled Aleppo held a massive rally protesting the bombing, Syria's state news agency reported. "Apparently, it happened in an area where the sick and the injured were either being transferred or swapped", said Al Jazeera's Hoda Abdel-Hamid. The two towns rebelled against Damascus' authority in 2011 when demonstrations swept through the country demanding the end of President Bashar Assad's rule.
It said the remainder of the dead were aid workers and rebels tasked with guarding the buses.
Pope Francis called the strike a "vile attack on fleeing refugees" in his Easter address, and the United Nations calls the Syria emergency the "worst humanitarian crisis" since 1945.
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