A new deal allowing for the mass evacuation of civilians, rebel fighters and their families in Aleppo were stalled on Sunday after armed gunmen attacked and burned the buses that were supposed to take them out of the city. According to organizations monitoring the violent conflict in Syria, the attack was a deliberate move to halt the deal.
According to a report by CBS News the incident happened in the villages of Foura and Kfarya, areas that are currently under the control of a jihadist group that supports the Syrian opposition. The buses from these villages were part of a move that would ultimately transport over 2,000 sick and wounded civilians to leave the pro-opposition areas in Syria.
However, on Sunday, about six buses were intercepted by militant groups and were set on fire to prevent them from being used for the evacuation. Videos posted online show armed men celebrating near the burning buses.
Due to the incident, the entire evacuation process was temporarily halted, leaving dozens of buses stranded in a crossing near Aleppo.
The Free Syria Army, an organization that oversees majority of the rebel groups in the country, condemned the attacks and noted that these were deliberate acts to further endanger the lives of those who are against the opposition.
“The people who resisted in Aleppo are paying the price of the irresponsible acts of a few,” the group said in a statement according to The Guardian. “This was a reckless act endangering the lives of more than 50,000 people.”
“It is a crime and a humiliation against our revolution and the resistance of the besieged Aleppo people,” the group added.
Several hours after the attacks on the buses, the evacuations in Aleppo resumed and are reportedly proceeding smoothly, according to CNN. However, due to the complexity of the civil war currently raging in Syria, there is no guarantee that similar attacks will not happen again.