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The New Arab

How Syrians came together to rescue evacuee massacre survivors

Images of Abd Alkader Habak rushing to rescue wounded children have been widely shared [Twitter]

Date of publication: 17 April, 2017

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Images have emerged of pro-rebel journalists and aid workers helping rescue survivors of Saturday's deadly blast that targeted civilians evacuees from two loyalist villages.

Syrians have rallied online after images have emerged of pro-rebel journalists and aid workers helping rescue survivors of Saturday's deadly blast that targeted civilians evacuees from two loyalist villages.

The activists have hailed the attempts to save the wounded in the attack, which killed 126 people including at least 68 children, stressing that their actions highlighted that the war in Syria has not been a "sectarian conflict". Most of the victims were evacuees from so-called pro-regime areas besieged by rebel groups.

A suicide car bombing tore through buses carrying evacuees from the besieged government-held Shia towns of Fuaa and Kafraya as they waited at a transit point in rebel-held Rashidin, west of Aleppo.

The bomber reportedly passed out potato crisps and sweets to the children, who have been living under siege since March 2015, before he exploded the device as they gathered around.

Images of pro-rebel activist Abd Alkader Habak rushing to rescue wounded children have been widely shared on social media and the Arabic-language hashtag #PopularRevolutionNotSectarianConflict has gained traction.

"This beast is the journalist Abd Alkader Habak from the city of Ariha rushing to the rescue of the injured in the Rashidin massacre - he is a symbol of humaneness," said one Facebook user.

Twitter users also shared images of an Al Jazeera correspondent, whose family was killed by the regime, carrying injured children to safety.

The opposition aligned White Helmets and the state-affiliated Syrian Arab Red Crescent worked side by side after the horrendous attack and were able to remove at least 100 bodies from the scene of the blast.

Ahrar al-Sham group, the main negotiator with the regime and its allies of the widely criticised evacuation deal that transferred thousands of civilians from regime and opposition besieged areas, said in a statement on Saturday it condemns the "cowardly" attack.

The Islamist rebel group said the attack only served to defame the rebels and serve to deflect from the government’s "crimes" against opposition-held areas, the latest being the chemical attack where over 80 people were killed.

It said it was starting a probe into the cause of the attack, and said it is ready to cooperate with an international investigation to determine who carried it out.

The regime blamed Saturday's attack on "terrorists" - its catch-all term for opposition groups. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the massacre.

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