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Massacre Complicates ‘Population Swap’ in Syria | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The aftermath of the explosion showed with bodies lying on the ground. (Reuters)

Beirut – At least 100 people were killed and around 500 were injured on Saturday when a bomb ripped through one of the buses carrying refugees from the towns of Kefraya and Fua on their way to the city of Aleppo, northern Syria.

The convoy was carrying residents and pro-regime fighters from the Shi’ite villages of Fua and Kefraya, which are besieged by rebels in nearby Idlib province.

The convoy had left under a deal, which stipulates the complete evacuation of the two Shi’ite-majority towns of Fua and Kefraya in return of the safe passage of a similar number of civilians and their families from Madaya and Zabadani in the western Damascus suburbs to northern Syrian areas.

“Hezbollah” besieges Zabadani and Madaya.

There were conflicting reports about the nature of the explosion. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a car bomb targeted a convoy stuck since Friday morning at a transit point in al-Rashideen while pro-regime media outlets spoke about a suicide bomber set off a car bomb near the convoy of buses.

Meanwhile, a high-ranking source at the opposition accused the Syrian regime of planning the explosion, adding that the car bomb that arrived to the convoy of buses “came from a pro-regime area and carried food.”

The source told DPA that a number of Lebanon’s “Hezbollah” members escaped from the transit point of buses and had benefited from the chaos produced by the explosion to enter areas controlled by the Syrian regime forces.

Later on Saturday, the evacuation of refugees from the four towns of Fua, Kefraya, Madaya and Zabadani resumed after being stuck for more than 37 hours at the outskirts of the Aleppo city due to disputes between Hiy’at Tahreer al-Sham and the Iranians concerning the fate of armed fighters in Zabadani.