Recently reported, at least 100 civilians have been killed near Damascus in less than 24 hours of heavy bombardment by Syrian government forces as they prepare a ground operation to recapture the opposition-held enclave, a war monitor group said.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that air raids and artillery fired on Eastern Ghouta – a suburb of the Syrian capital – have killed at least 20 children since Sunday.
Sources report, some 300 people have been wounded during the attacks.
“The heavy shelling targeted mainly all residential areas in Eastern Ghouta,” Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the SOHR, told dpa news agency.
Government forces are preparing to launch a major ground assault on Eastern Ghouta following the heavy bombardment, which began on Sunday, SOHR said.
The Syria Civil Defence, also known as the White Helmets, said bombs were continuing to fall on Tuesday morning.
Syrian forces stepped up an offensive to retake the area earlier this month.
The Eastern Ghouta is the last major opposition enclave near the capital and is completely surrounded by areas under government control.
Local Co-ordination Committees, an opposition activist network, reports that civilians have been killed and wounded in fresh air strikes on Douma, Misraba and al-Nashabiya.
The White Helmets, a rescue group, said three people were killed in Misraba and four were killed in al-Marj on Tuesday.Urging a halt to the bombardment, a UN official said the situation was spiraling out of control.
Last week the Eastern Ghouta, home to almost 400,000 people, received its first aid delivery in almost three months.Government planes are “shooting everything that moves inside the residential areas”, a local doctor told dpa.
“Our hospitals are overcrowded with wounded. We are running out of aesthetics and other essential medications,” he said.
Activists put the number of dead at 68. “Each minute between 20-30 shells are falling on the residential areas, especially in Hammouriyeh and Sabka,” Mazen al-Shami was quoted as saying from the enclave.
The main opposition National Coalition, which is based in Turkey, denounced the “war of extermination” in Eastern Ghouta as well as the “international silence”.
In a statement, it also accused Syria’s ally, Russia, of seeking to “bury the political process” for a solution to the conflict.
Eastern Ghouta, the last remaining rebel-held area near Damascus, has been under siege by government forces since 2013. It is home to about 400,000 people.
An international aid convoy was able to deliver much-needed food and medical supplies to the enclave on February 14.
Image Source: Egypt Independent