US condemns 'barbaric' attack in Syria

US condemns 'barbaric' attack in Syria
© Getty

The United States condemned a bomb blast targeting a bus convoy in Syria on Saturday that left dozens of people dead.

"The United States strongly condemns today's barbaric attacks against innocent civilians, including women and children, in northern Syria," State Department acting spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement.

"We deplore any act that sustains and empowers extremists on all sides including today's attacks, as well as forced migration, increased displacement, and all forms of violence directed against civilians in Syria," he said.

ADVERTISEMENT

At least 112 people were killed in the blast, which targeted pro-regime evacuees in Rashidin, a suburb of Aleppo, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group, Reuters reported.

The Observatory said those who were killed were primarily from the villages of Foah and Kefraya in Idlib province.

The blast happened while a bus convoy waited to cross into government-held Aleppo, with people leaving the towns of Foah and Kefraya in a rebel-government swap.

Thousands of people from areas besieged by the Syrian government and rebels were left stranded on the city's outskirts before the explosion Saturday, according to Reuters.

"The evacuations were being conducted in accordance with the agreement reached pursuant to the Four Towns agreement, covering Foah, Kefraya, Madaya and Zabadani," read a statement from the spokesperson for the United Nations secretary-general.

The Trump administration has faced questions over its strategy in Syria after it struck a military base used by Syrian President Bashar Assad's government earlier this month following a chemical weapons attack attributed to his military.

U.S. officials have emphasized that defeating terrorist groups including the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) remains a top priority, though the administration has faced pressure over the role of Assad.

"We remain firmly committed to defeating terrorists, including ISIS and al-Qaeda, as our top priority in Syria," Toner said Saturday.