Nearly 40 people have lost their lives and several others sustained injuries when a powerful bomb explosion struck near several buses carrying people from two villages in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib, as they were waiting to enter the city of Aleppo.
The blast hit Rashidin district on the western outskirts of Aleppo, located some 355 kilometers north of the capital, Damascus, as buses were stopping at a checkpoint on Saturday afternoon. At least 39 people were killed and 48 others injured as a result, Lebanon-based Arabic-language al-Mayadeen television news network reported.
Syrian state TV reported that a bomber blew up an explosive-laden car at the site. The buses were evacuating residents of Kefraya and al- Foua villages under a deal reached between the Damascus government and foreign-sponsored Takfiri militant groups last month.
State-owned Arabic daily Tishreen said the explosion took place as children were collecting being distributed at the stop point.
In late March, the Syrian government and militant groups struck a deal that envisaged the transfer of 16,000 people from Foua and Kefraya in exchange for the evacuation of militants and their families from al-Zabadani and Madaya towns in the southwestern province of Rif Dimashq.
Residents of Foua and Kefraya were agreed to be transferred to the outskirts of Aleppo City, the coastal province of Latakia or Damascus, while the gunmen and their families would leave for Idlib City.
More than 30,000 people are expected to be evacuated under the deal, which began on Wednesday with an exchange of prisoners between militants and government forces.
The Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) is supervising the implementation of the deal, which is described as the biggest population swap of its kind.
The explosion on Aleppo’s outskirts came shortly after a bomb explosion targeted a military camp in Syria’s western coastal province of Latakia, leaving nearly a dozen people dead and several others injured.
Local sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a car rigged with explosives was detonated by remote control in Salma village, which lies northeast of the provincial capital city of Latakia.
No militant group or individual has claimed responsibility for the attack yet, but such assaults bear the hallmarks of those carried out by the Daesh Takfiri terrorists.