Published: Tue, February 20, 2018

Over 70 Civilians were Killed in Air Strikes in Syria

Over 70 Civilians were Killed in Air Strikes in Syria

Both the Observatory and the White Helmets reported more airstrikes and shelling on Tuesday in eastern Ghouta as rebels pounded Damascus with mortar shells.

The rescue service, which operates in rebel territory, said strikes killed 20 people and wounded dozens in the town of Hammouriyeh alone yesterday.

It is the worst single day of bombing that people there have seen in years.

Twelve children were among the dead, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor of the war.

A barrage of air strikes, rocket fire and artillery slammed into several towns across Eastern Ghouta on Monday.

It has since evolved into a war that has carved up the country into rival zones of influence among the regime, rebels, extremists and Kurdish forces. Four makeshift hospitals, including a maternity facility, were struck on Monday.

The Observatory also said that around 300 people were wounded.

Almost 400,000 people live in Eastern Ghouta.

The United Nations called for an immediate ceasefire in the area on Monday, saying the situation was "spiralling out of control" after an "extreme escalation in hostilities".

The TV reporter said residents expressed hope that the Syrian army would retake eastern Ghouta. It was the first convoy to enter the area since November of previous year, Reuters reported.

Eastern Ghouta falls under ceasefire plans for rebel territory that Russian Federation has brokered with the help of Turkey and Iran. "To systematically target and kill civilians amounts to a war crime and the global community must act to stop it".

Attacks in Eastern Ghouta in recent weeks have provoked an worldwide outcry. So is terrorism. What is a greater terrorism than killing civilians with all sorts of weapons? Families trapped, with no safe place to hide from shelling.

Opposition activists say government forces have brought in more reinforcements in recent days, suggesting a major assault is imminent to recapture the area that is the last main rebel stronghold near Damascus.

Nevertheless, the Syrian regime continues to target residential parts of the city, killing at least 539 people - and injuring more than 2,000 others - since December 29 of previous year.

This would make Monday one of the deadliest days for the district since it came under siege in 2013.

Stephen Zunes, political science professor and chair of Middle East Studies at the University of San Francisco, told VOA that given how long opposition fighters have controlled the area, there is likely to be fierce resistance and the fighting could last many months.

The bloodshed prompted the United Nations children's agency UNICEF to issue a largely blank statement on Tuesday to express its anger.

"The global community should unite to stop this human suffering", they said in a joint statement.

"In the end the Syrian government has followed the systematic policy, the systematic strategy of besiegement and bombardment until people have to give up and then they are forcibly displaced", Amnesty International's regional campaigner on Syria Leen Hashem told CNN.

"Do those inflicting the suffering still have words to justify their barbaric acts?" "Not even a proper aid convoy is being allowed to enter Ghouta, and the global community is just watching".

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