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Thursday 20th
posted by James Tweedie in World

Civilians leave towns caught up in civil war

EVACUATIONS from al-Qaida strongholds and besieged government-held towns resumed in Syria yesterday after the weekend’s terrorist slaughter.

But the violence continued yesterday, with a terrorist bombing on a funeral in Aleppo killing six people and wounding dozens more.

Around 3,000 civilians left the besieged government-held towns of Foua and Kfarya in Idlib province, boarding 45 buses for Aleppo to the east.

Eleven buses carried the last 500 rebels and their families from the insurgent strongholds of Madaya and Zabadani northwest of Damascus, near the Lebanese border. Others chose to stay and accept the government’s amnesty offer.

The evacuations were halted on Saturday after a suicide car bomber struck a convoy of buses carrying evacuees from Foua and Kfarya, killing 120 — mostly women and children.

The evacuees had left the buses to get snacks while they waited to cross the front line in the the militant-held Rashideen suburb of the city.

Suspicion for the attack fell on Hayat Tahrir as-Sham (Hetesh), the latest alliance of factions led by Syria’s al-Qaida affiliate.

Earlier this month US President Donald Trump ordered a massive cruise missile attack on a Syrian air base after the USfunded White Helmets claimed the Assad regime had dropped chemical weapons on the Hetesh stronghold of Khan Sheikhoun.

British defence analysts IHS Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Centre warned yesterday that weakening Syria’s armed forces would only strengthen the hand of Isis extremists.

IHS Markit senior Middle East analyst Columb Strack said: “The Syrian government is essentially the anvil to the US-led coalition’s hammer.”

He pointed out that Isis was throwing large forces into its bid to capture the besieged eastern city of Deir Ezzor from defending Syrian troops as “a lifeline for the group’s governance project beyond the loss of Mosul and Raqqa.”