Syria ‘At least 68 children among 126 killed’ in bus bombing

At least 68 children were among the 126 people killed by a bomb attack on buses carrying refugees from besieged Syrian towns.

Those killed mostly residents of the villages of al-Foua and Kefraya in Idlib province

The hungry youngsters had approached a vehicle full of explosives as its occupants starting dishing out crisps – and seconds later, a huge blast ripped the convoy apart.

The bomb went off at a checkpoint where an agreed handover of evacuees was due and medics warned that the death toll could rise.

Pope Francis, in an Easter message, also condemned the attack, describing it as “ignoble”, and asking God to bring healing and comfort to what he called the “beloved and martyred Syria”.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 109 evacuees were killed, along with aid workers and rebels. Many more were hurt in the attack in rebel-held territory west of Aleppo.

The evacuees were being moved from government-held Foah and Kefraya. No group has claimed the strike but it is thought the vehicle could not have got there without regime permission.

President Bashar al-Assad’s state-run TV news network blamed rebel groups.

Separately, several people were reported to have been hurt by shelling in the capital Damascus. In his Easter Sunday address, Pope Francis called the strike a “vile attack on fleeing refugees”.

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson branded President Assad an “arch-terrorist” as he warned that the US could launch new strikes. The Foreign Secretary said: “Assad uses chemical weapons because they are not only horrible and indiscriminate. They are also terrifying. In that sense he is himself an arch-terrorist.”

He added: “America has struck and could strike again. That creates an ambiguity that should prey on the guilty minds of Damascus.”

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