Death toll from Aleppo bus convoy bomb attack at least 126 - Observatory

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Saturday's attack in Rashidin west of Aleppo killed at least 126 people, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, updating a previous toll of 112 dead.

The deal stalled following the blast, but thousands were expected to be bussed from towns on Sunday.

The SANA news agency reported that the blast went off in the al-Rashideen area of Aleppo, where buses and ambulances were parked for more than 24 hours to transport 5,000 residents of the Shiite villages of Kefraya and al-Foua'a.

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.

He called on all parties to uphold their obligations under global humanitarian and human rights law, and to "facilitate safe and unimpeded access for the United Nations and its partners to bring life-saving help to those in need". But Sunni jihadist groups, including the Syrian affiliate of al-Qaida, operate in the area and routinely attack Shi'ites, whom they consider apostates.

The UK-based group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 98 evacuees were killed, along with aid workers and rebel soldiers. Yasser Abdellatif, a member of the powerful Ahrar al-Sham group that negotiated the transport deal, said at least 30 rebels were killed in the explosion.

Madaya and Zabadani have been under the control of anti-government fighters but facing siege from forces loyal to the regime. "Sad and angry" Rebels say Damascus breached the terms of the deal brokered by Iran and Qatar, accusing the government of trying to bring out more loyalist fighters from than agreed.

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It's the same with Madaya and Zabadani, as the army entered Madaya on Friday following the evacuation of the first batch of rebels and their families.

Foua and Kfraya, besieged by the rebels, lived under a steady hail of rockets and mortars.

That convoy was waiting at a bus garage in a government-held area on Aleppo's outskirts, a few kilometres from where the attack took place.

The evacuation has moved the country closer to a division of its national population along loyalty and sect lines.

"Iraq also calls on the global community to make this awful crime, which has claimed the lives of dozens of children, women and the elderly, enough reason to show seriousness in solving the Syrian crisis peacefully and away from the pursuit of some countries to achieve their political interests", the ministry said in a statement.

Associated Press writer Albert Aji in Damascus, Syria contributed to this report. If you would like to discuss another topic, look for a relevant article.

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