Syrian civil war: Assad regime air strikes kill 71 and wound 325 in 24 hours, says monitoring group

Bombardment of eastern Ghouta, home to almost 400,000, intensifies

Samuel Osborne
Monday 19 February 2018 16:15 GMT
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A Syrian civil defence member carries an injured child rescued from between 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
A Syrian civil defence member carries an injured child rescued from between 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 (ABDULMONAM EASSA/AFP/Getty Images)

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Syrian government air strikes and artillery attacks killed at least 71 people in a rebel enclave near Damascus over the past 24 hours, a monitoring group has said.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the bombardment of eastern Ghouta intensified on Sunday evening, wounding 325 people.

The death toll included at least five children, the Observatory said.

Eastern Ghouta, the largest rebel bastion left near the capital, is home to almost 400,000 people according to the United Nations and has been besieged since 2013.

Rebel groups in eastern Ghouta fired mortars at areas of Damascus held by the government, killing a child and injuring eight other people, Syrian state media said.

Syria's President, Bashar al-Assad, has gained momentum in the war since Russia entered on his side in 2015, pushing the rebels from big cities and retaking much of central and eastern areas of the country from Isis.

Though he appears to have survived the insurgency, his forces continue to bomb and besiege opposition pockets across Syria.

Opposition activists say government forces have brought in reinforcements in preparation for a wide offensive on the last main rebel stronghold near the capital.

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