Nearly 70 children were among those killed when a suicide car bombing tore through buses carrying evacuees from besieged government-held towns in Syria, a monitor said on Sunday.
At least 68 children were among the 126 people killed in the attack, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, updating a previous toll of 112 dead.
At least 109 of the dead were evacuees, the Britain-based monitoring group said, while the rest were aid workers and rebels guarding the convoy.
The evacuations were taking place under a deal between Syria’s regime and rebels that is also seeing residents and rebels transported out of Madaya and Zabadani, towns near Damascus that are surrounded by pro-government forces.
The agreement is the latest in a string of evacuation deals, which the government of President Bashar al-Assad says are the best way to end the violence after more than six years of civil war.
Rebels say they amount to forced relocations after years of bombardment and crippling sieges.
Body parts and the belongings of evacuees — including clothes, dishes and even televisions — were still strewn at the scene of the attack Sunday.
The shattered buses were nearby as was the shell of a pick-up truck — with little left but its engine block — that was apparently used to carry out the bombing.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing, though the key Ahrar al-Sham rebel group denied any involvement. The government blamed “terrorists” — a catch-all term for its opponents.
The Observatory, which relies on a network of sources inside Syria to monitor the conflict, said hundreds of people were also wounded in the blast.