DAMASCUS (Sputnik) — On April 15, a suicide attacker detonated a car bomb in the Rashidin neighborhood of Aleppo near a convoy of buses carrying civilians who had been evacuated from the towns of Fua and Kefraya, both besieged by militants.
"They did what they announced, and they are al-Nusra Front, they didn't hide themselves from the very beginning, and I think everybody agrees that this is al-Nusra," Assad said in an interview.
The president recalled a similar incident that took place several months ago, when another al-Qaeda-affiliated militant group attacked evacuees leaving the two towns and burned their buses.
"They attacked those buses and they burned them, and it was shown on the Internet, where they said 'we won't allow this reconciliation to happen, we're going to kill every civilian that wants to use the buses,' and that's what happened," he said.
Fua and Kefraya are the only government-held towns in a vast opposition-held area in the Idlib province. The towns of some 20,000 people have been under siege since 2013, with the humanitarian situation dire as aid convoys have been prevented from reaching the towns by terror groups operating in the region. The evacuation from the both towns started on April 14 concurrently with evacuations from opposition-held Madaya and Zabadani within the framework of a population swap deal reached by Damascus and opposition forces in March.