On 14 April at least 126 people, including over 60 children, were killed in an attack targeting a convoy of evacuees from the besieged pro-government towns of Fouah and Kefraya. No one has claimed responsibility for the car bomb at a checkpoint in Rashidin where a handover of evacuees was due to take place. In an 18 April Press Statement the UN Security Council (UNSC) labeled the attack an act of terrorism. The government, and many Syrian opposition organizations, have condemned the attack.
The evacuees were being transferred under a local ceasefire agreement whereby the mainly Shia residents of Fouah and Kefraya, who have been besieged by opposition forces, would
be evacuated in return for safe passage for residents from the mainly pro-opposition towns of Madaya and Zabadani. It was estimated that more than 30,000 people would be relocated during the exchange.
Any local ceasefire agreements reached between the Syrian government and opposition parties that result in the involuntary transfer of civilian populations constitute a violation of International Humanitarian Law (IHL). However, in response to the war crime at Rashidin, the UNSC should demand UN access in order to monitor any voluntary evacuations and ensure the well-being of civilians. The UNSC previously demanded similar access for UN monitors to eastern Aleppo via Resolution 2328.
The attack on evacuees in Syria came two days after Russia vetoed a UNSC draft resolution that would have condemned the 4 April sarin gas attack in Khan Shaykhun and obligated the Syrian government to comply with recommendations of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons Joint Investigation Mechanism. The 12 April vote marked Russia's eighth veto of a draft resolution regarding the situation in Syria since the conflict began in 2011. Bolivia also voted against the draft resolution, while China, Ethiopia and Kazakhstan abstained. Ten UNSC members voted in favor of the resolution. By vetoing an impartial international investigation into the deadly attack at Khan Shaykhun, Russia has weakened the global prohibition of chemical weapons under international law.