Syria war: Scores of civilians killed in Eastern Ghouta strikes

Syria war: Scores of civilians killed in Eastern Ghouta strikes

Since Monday there have been air strikes, rocket fire and artillery slammed into several towns across Eastern Ghouta freeing almost three villages Ikidam, Shaltah, and Marsawiyah.

United Nations officials say malnutrition is rife, although Eastern Ghouta was once the capital's market garden.

Last week the Eastern Ghouta, home to nearly 400,000 people, received its first aid delivery in nearly three months. The Saqba Hospital, Saqba Maternity Hospital and Al Hayat Hospitals were also attacked and put out of service.

"We in Ghouta have been getting hit by airstrikes for more than 5 years and this is not new to us. but we have never seen anything like this escalation". The rebels have been responding with mortar attacks on Damascus but the government's military might is far stronger.

Dr. Asem, a doctor in Ghouta said, "The situation is catastrophic, people have nowhere to turn".

CNN could not independently verify the claim.

Videos from Hamouria, a town in the enclave where at least 20 people were reportedly killed in air strikes on Monday, showed people fleeing heavily damaged buildings covered in dust and debris.

The European Union's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides also issued a joint written statement late Monday regarding the humanitarian situation in Eastern Ghouta and Idlib.

Syrian civilians and children run for cover amid the rubble of buildings following government bombing in the rebel-held town of Hamouria in the besieged Eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of the capital Damascus
Syria war: Scores of civilians killed in Eastern Ghouta strikes

In the East Ghouta town of Hamouriya alone, airstrikes on "residential areas" killed at least 20 people throughout Monday, the Civil Defense reported.

In December worldwide aid organisations warned conditions in the rebel-held area had reached a "critical point" for civilians because of shortages of food, fuel and medicines.

The UN humanitarian office in Syria tweeted that the attacks had killed more than 40 civilians in Ghouta. The multi-sided conflict has killed hundreds of thousands of people and driven millions from their homes.

It is a suburb of Damascus, about 15km (nine miles) east from the city centre.

Global monitors are sounding alarm bells about the offensive in Eastern Ghouta, but aside from the aid convoy that made it into the area last week, little else has changed in recent days aside from an uptick in the bloodshed.

Meanwhile, Turkey, the U.S. and the Syrian government, with its allies Russian Federation and Iran, are involved in Afrin, risking clashes and raising hopes of political deals.

Four key rebel groups are positioned inside Eastern Ghouta such as the Islam Army, Failaq al-Rahman, Ahrar al-Sham and the Levant Liberation Committee (LLC), otherwise known as the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front.

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