Syrian TV says dozens killed in blast near evacuation buses

Al-Manar TV said the buses were to replace those damaged by the blast.

An opposition representative, Ali Diab, told the pan-Arab Al-Arabiya TV that fewer armed men than agreed to were evacuated from the pro-government areas, violating the terms of the agreement.

The coordinated evacuations delivered war-weary fighters and residents from two years of siege and hunger, but moved Syria closer to a division of its national population by loyalty and sect.

A rebel official confirmed that there were differences over the number of loyalist fighters leaving but refused to elaborate as "negotiations are under way".

People waiting in the Ramousah garage heard the blast, and said they feared revenge attacks by pro-government forces.

The convoy that departed Al-Fu'ah and Kafriya is carrying 5,000 people, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

BEIRUT (AP) - Syria TV says at least 22 people were killed in an explosion that hit near evacuation buses in northern Syria.

A war monitor put the total death toll near 100.


Images from the scene show bodies lying on the ground outside blackened and devastated vehicles.

In footage aired on state television, fires raged in the charred and gutted buses as clouds of thick black smoke billowed in the background.

The explosion hit an area where buses carrying almost 5,000 people from Foua and Kfraya, villages in northern Syria that have been besieged by rebels.

More than 5,000 people who had lived under crippling siege for more than two years left the two towns, along with 2,200 evacuated from rebel-held Madaya and Zabadani, on Friday. My house, land and belongings are all in al-Foua", Mehdi Tahhan said.A Madaya resident, speaking from the bus garage inside Aleppo, said people had been waiting there since late on Friday, and were not being allowed to leave."There's no drinking water or food.

The explosion hit the Rashideen area, a rebel-controlled district outside Aleppo city where evacuation buses carrying almost 5,000 people from the northern rebel-besieged villages of Foua and Kfraya were stuck, causing a huge plume of black smoke. According to the deal, more than 2,000 residents, activists and gunmen from areas besieged by government forces were also evacuated.

Activists and residents say thousands of Syrians evacuated from their besieged towns have spent the night on buses at an exchange point as a much criticized population transfer deal stalls.

A senior rebel leader said 20 fighters who guarded the buses were killed as well as dozens of passengers. He added it was not clear how many rebels were killed because they were evacuated to their areas.

Rami Abdurrahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the Syrian government and rebels who negotiated the deal have differed over the evacuation of gunmen from the towns.

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