Published: Sun, January 14, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

At Least 17 Civilians Killed in Strikes on Syria's Eastern Ghouta

At Least 17 Civilians Killed in Strikes on Syria's Eastern Ghouta

The rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta, just east of the Syrian capital city of Damascus, continues to be a very risky place for civilians, with a flurry of airstrikes against the area killing at least 30 civilians early Thursday morning.

Syrian regime forces battled Thursday to reach an encircled army base in rebel bastion eastern Ghouta, as a monitor said over 40 civilians and soldiers were killed in two days of bombardments.

Eastern Ghouta, home to 400,000 residents, has been cut off from food and medical aid since 2013.

Hundreds more patients are in urgent need of evacuation from the enclave, where there are only 107 doctors and severe shortages of medical supplies.

They said five others were killed in other areas.

Seven children and 11 women were among those killed, said the head of the war monitor, which relies on a network of sources inside Syria.

The Khmeimim military airport, which hosts the biggest Russian airbase in Syria, was attacked for a second time in a row this week by a drone believed to belong to a faction in the countryside of Latakia, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

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The United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura said on Tuesday that the Syrian government had accepted the Russian proposal to stop fighting in the area on November 28-29.

"We are in peace today", a witness from the Eastern Ghouta village of Douma told Reuters on a messaging site.

More than 340,000 people have been killed in Syria and millions displaced since the conflict began in March 2011 with anti-government protests.

A government forces base, the only one in the region, was surrounded by rebels earlier this week.

"The Kommersant report on alleged "actual destruction" of seven Russian war planes at Hmeymim air base is fake", TASS said, citing the ministry.

At least four Su-24 bombers, two Su-35S fighters and an An-72 transport plane, as well as an ammunition depot, were destroyed by the shelling, Kommersant said on its website, citing two "military-diplomatic" sources.

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