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the site of a government air strike in the rebel-held town of Saqba in the besieged Eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of Damascus the site of a government air strike in the rebel-held town of Saqba in the besieged Eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of Damascus  (AFP or licensors)

Air strikes continue to batter Ghouta in Syria

Massive explosions rocked eastern Ghouta Saturday in one of the deadliest air assaults of the Syrian civil war.

By Nathan Morley

Rescuers said incendiary bombs caused fires to break out in several areas leaving entire districts shrouded in smoke. The severity of the bombardment has made it impossible to ascertain how many people were killed or injured.

Witnesses said that the attack was more intense than previous strikes over the last seven days and claim hospitals and medical clinics had been targeted.

Many people sheltered in cellars and basements attempting to escape the bombs.

For the last week, missiles and air strikes have hit a string of targets across the region, killing over 500 people – including many women and children. The United Nations has pleaded for a truce in Ghouta.

The region is the only big rebel bastion close to Damascus.

The Assad government, which is backed by Russian forces, insists they only target insurgents and accuses rebels of shelling areas of the capital, including the old city.

The UN Security Council could not agree on proposed ceasefire across Syria on Friday, because of objections from Moscow.

Prior to the conflict, Easten Ghouta was home to about two million people but the seven-year long war has since reduced the population to about 400,000.

Listen to Nathan Morley's report


 

24 February 2018, 17:44