86 pro-government civilians, who went missing after a bombing that targeted an evacuation convoy more than year ago, are still alive but in captivity in Syria’s Idlib and southern Turkey, the al-Mayadeen TV reported on March 15 citing local sources.
More than 126 civilians, mostly women and children, were killed in the attack which occurred on April 15 of 2017. The civilians were being evacuated from the Shiite towns of al-Fu’ah and Kafriya in eastern Idlib.
According to al-Mayadeen, 38 children who survived the bombing are being forcible held at a Qatari-sponsored orphanage in the southern Turkish town of Reyhanli. Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the former branch of al-Qaeda in Syria, is imprisoning the remaining people, who are mostly adults.
HTS promised to guard the evacuation convoy under an agreement with the Damascus government. However, a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) attacked the civilians while they were in the HTS-held part of Aleppo province.
When the terrorist group was asked about the fate of the missing civilians, it claimed that it was not able to find any of them. Back then, activists confirmed that some of the civilians were seen being transported to hospitals in Turkey by HTS members and opposition activists.
The upcoming days may witness new developments regarding the fate of these missing civilians. An agreement with Turkey could secure their release.