DAMASCUS (Dispatches) – Evacuation of four areas in Syria has resumed days after the process, which is part of a deal between Damascus and terrorist groups, was interrupted by a bloody attack on a bus convoy carrying people from two villages in Idlib Province.
Some 45 buses carrying 3,000 civilians left the terrorist-besieged villages of al-Foua and Kefraya near the northwestern city of Idlib on Wednesday morning, Syria’s Central Military Media reported.
A convoy of 11 buses also moved armed men and their families from the town of al-Zabadani in Rif Dimashq Province.
Under the deal reached between the Syrian government and terrorists in late March, the residents of Foua and Kefraya will be taken to the outskirts of Aleppo City, while the terrorists and their families will be transferred from Zabadani and Madaya near Damascus to terrorist-held territory.
The evacuation process kicked off on Friday following a brief delay, but it came to a halt a day later when a bomber blew up an explosive-laden car ripping through several buses carrying evacuees from the two villages.
The terrorist attack left at least 126 people, including 68 children, and injured dozens of others.
The UN says that a deadly attack on the bus convoy amounts to a war crime.
"We add our voice to the condemnation of the attack near Rashideen near western rural Aleppo Governorate that hit a convoy carrying people from the besieged Syrian villages of Kefraya and Foua to government-controlled areas, killing dozens of people. It is an attack which likely amounts to a war crime," said a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Rupert Colville, on Tuesday.
"We reiterate the High Commissioner’s call for accountability and the need to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court," he added.
Colville noted that the OHCHR has been informed that a number of the civilians injured in the attacks are still missing. "Some are believed to have been taken by armed opposition groups to opposition-controlled hospitals in Idlib Governorate… their families are concerned for their safety,” he said.
Earlier in the day, the UN Security Council also condemned the attack as a "barbaric and cowardly” action, expressing sympathies and condolences to the victim’s families.
In late March, the Syrian government and terrorist groups struck a deal that envisaged the transfer of 16,000 people from Foua and Kefraya in exchange for the evacuation of terrorists and their families from al-Zabadani and Madaya towns in the southwestern province of Rif Dimashq.