Syrian TV says dozens killed in blast near evacuation buses

As the Syrian conflict enters its seventh year, more than 465,000 people have been killed in the fighting, more than a million injured and over 12 million Syrians - half the country's prewar population - have been displaced from their homes.

They were evacuated Friday, along with more than 2,000 from Madaya, a town outside of Damascus which was besieged by government forces.

Al-Ikhbariya TV said 48 wounded were transported in exchange for allowing five buses of residents from opposition areas head toward a rebel-controlled province.

But as the government and militants disagreed over the number of gunmen to be evacuated, the busses were left stuck at two separate parts, but adjacent parts of the city. Assad's Alawite religious minority is often considered an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam.He has been backed militarily by Russian Federation, and by Shi'ite fighters from Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah group in Syria's six-year-old conflict.Assad has the military advantage over rebels in the west thanks to Russia's intervention in 2015, although the insurgents are still fighting back and have made gains in some areas.

A suicide vehicle bomb attack on buses carrying Syrians evacuated from two besieged government-held towns killed 24 people on Saturday, as US-backed fighters advanced in their push towards the Islamic State group's Raqa stronghold.

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A rebel fighter stands near buses carrying people who were evacuated from villages in Aleppo after a stall in an agreement between rebels and Syria's army.

The victims are believed to be from the pro-government villages of Foua and Kefraya, who had been starving under a siege by Islamist rebels.

In footage aired on Syrian TV, bodies, including fighters, were seen lying alongside buses, some of which were charred and others gutted from the blast. A war monitor put the death toll at 24 in the area controlled by opposition fighters.

"The situation is disastrous", said Ahmed Afandar, a resident evacuated from the opposition area near Madaya.

Afandar said people were not allowed to leave the buses for a while before they were let out.

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At least 80 buses left Fuaa and Kafraya in Idlib province in the northwest, an Agence France-Presse correspondent in rebel-held territory said. The buses headed to the Jebrin area for a temporary housing center equipped with food and medical supplies, SANA said.

Thousands of evacuees from Madaya and Zabadani were also stuck in regime-controlled Ramusa, south of Aleppo.

A British-based Syrian Observatory Human Rights group said that the Syrian government and rebels differed in last minute and the negotiation ended.

An opposition representative, Ali Diab, accused the government side of violating the terms of the agreement, by evacuating fewer armed men than agreed to from the pro-government areas.

The population transfer deal has been criticized by opponents as forced displacement and was not overseen by the United Nations.

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