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Blast Threatens Evacuation Deal

A massive explosion hit the Rashideen bus station in Northern Syria yesterday.  The station was acting as a transit point where fighters and residents from two besieged and predominantly Shia villages, Kafriya and Fua’, were to be evacuated from.  The evacuation procedures were a part of a comprehensive deal involving rebel group Haya Tareer Sham (HTS) and the Assad regime.  The deal was brokered by Iran and Qatar.

Civilians, Shia’ fighters, HTS  and Ahrar Sham security personnel have all been amongst the more than 110 killed in what is believed to be a car bomb.

The day began as resident, fighters, and their families were to be ferried out of the siege.  The area was buzzing with busses, security personnel, and media crews. 

Then suddenly all of that changed.

The attack caught everyone by surprise and when the smoke cleared there were bodies with missing limbs strewn all over the packed bus station.  The perpetrators are still unknown, however both sides are pointing the finger at each other.  It is unlikely that the regime would attack it’s own supporters in this fashion while it is equally unlikely that rebel forces would have sacrificed dozens of it’s own members and security personnel in such an attack.  

HTS said: “Throughout the period of negotiations concerning the five towns, we have been and still maintain the principles and constants.  We are keen to ease the suffering of our people in Syria in general and those in besieged areas in particular.  We confirm that whoever carried out the bombing today did nothing but violate the agreement and put the lives of our people from Madaya in danger. Now they are in the hands of the criminal regime. We affirm our continued implementation of the terms of the agreement.”

The process was stopped in the wake of the attack which stranded evacuated fighters and their families in the hostile regime controlled section of Aleppo Ramousa.

It is unclear if the remainder of the agreement will remain in place and implemented.

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