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Syria regime airstrikes kill dozens of civilians in Eastern Ghouta

Eastern Ghouta residents have faced brutal regime bombardments in recent weeks. [Getty]

Date of publication: 5 February, 2018

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Eastern Ghouta is home to an estimated 400,000 people living under a crippling regime siege that has made food and medicine almost impossible to acquire.
Syrian regime airstrikes killed more than 28 civilians in the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta near Damascus on Monday, a monitoring group said.
Eastern Ghouta is home to an estimated 400,000 people living under a crippling regime siege that has made food and medicine almost impossible to acquire.

The area was designated as one of four so-called "de-escalation zones" in Syria but residents have been facing brutal bombardments in recent weeks.

"Dozens of airstrikes hit several areas in Eastern Ghouta," said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor.

The deadliest raids on Monday hit a market in the town of Beit Sawa, killing 10 civilians including two children.
 
Another nine civilians, two of them children and one a local rescue worker, were killed in Arbin. 

Nine more civilians died in strikes across the rest of the besieged region, and dozens more people were wounded, the Observatory said.

AFP correspondents reported that airstrikes began at around 8:00am GMT on Monday in Arbin, and airplanes could still be heard circling above in the afternoon. 

In apparent retaliation, rockets and mortars rained down on government-controlled districts of Damascus, Syria's state news agency SANA reported.

One woman was killed and four people were wounded in mortar fire on the Bab Touma neighbourhood and the capital's Mariamite Cathedral, a Greek Orthodox church, a police source told the agency. 

Another person was killed and nine people wounded in rocket fire on the regime-held part of Harasta district. 

The barrage of bombardment came as the United Nations children's agency warned of the dire risks to children in the Middle East's war zones. 

At least 83 children were killed in conflicts across the region in January - including 59 in Syria alone. 

And four Syrian children were among at least 16 refugees who froze to death in a snowstorm as they tried to flee to neighbouring Lebanon. 

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