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Over 335 dead as Syrian regime shelling continues on Eastern Ghouta

The brutal campaign has left over 335 dead [Getty]

Date of publication: 22 February, 2018

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Rockets and airstrikes continued to pound the rebel-held enclave in the early hours, bringing the rising death toll to over 335 civilians.

The Syrian regime continued to pound the besieged rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta in the early hours of Thursday killing at least 13 civilians, a war monitor reported.

UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 13 people, three of them children, were killed in Douma, the main town in Eastern Gouta.

"It was raining on the area so there are no warplanes but it seems the regime chose to use rockets instead," Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the Observatory said.

"The rocket fire hasn't stopped this morning. Around 200 ground-to-ground rockets struck Douma alone," he said, adding that the number of the wounded across the enclave on Thursday topped 120.

The latest deaths brings the death toll to at least 335 civilians killed since Sunday when the regime escalated its brutal campaign against the besieged enclave.

Aid groups and NGOs have slammed the regimes brutality, with Save the Children describing the extent of the campaign's destruction as surpassing even the Aleppo crisis in 2016.

The UN's children's agency UNICEF issued a blank statement in response to the unprecedented levels of violence. "UNICEF is issuing this blank statement. We no longer have the words to describe children's suffering and our outrage," it said.

"Do those inflicting the suffering still have words to justify their barbaric acts?"

Twelve medical facilities were bombed in the past three days in the province designated last year as a "de-escalation" zone.

Eastern Ghouta is home to more than 400,000 people living under crippling regime siege, with little access to food or medical resources. World leaders and government officials have sharply criticised the Assad regime for its indiscriminate bombing and called for an immediate halt.

The escalating bombing campaign suggests the regime is paving way for a ground assault soon. Held by rebels since 2012, Eastern Ghouta is the last opposition pocket around Damascus and President Bashar al-Assad is keen to retake it, seemingly at any cost.

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