Surgeons prepare 10-year-old schoogirl Amal Badran, who was wounded in air strikes that targeted an area near a school in Douma, for surgery at a field hospital in the Eastern Ghouta region yesterday.
The dead include at least two children and a school principal, a monitoring group says
Intense air and missile strikes on a school district and other areas in insurgent-held Damascus suburbs killed dozens of people yesterday, including children, a monitoring group and local rescue workers said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said unidentified warplanes hit the town of Douma, 15km northeast of the capital, and surface-to-surface missiles fired by the Syrian army also hit the surrounding areas, including Eastern Ghouta.
The strikes killed at least two children and a school principal, it said.
Syrian Civil Defence, a humanitarian rescue group that operates in rebel-held areas, put the death toll at 35 and said many others were wounded. It posted a photo of a dead baby with a severe wound to its head.
Issam al-Rayyes, spokesman for the Southern Front of the insurgent Free Syrian Army, said as many as 60 people had been killed in strikes on the Douma area which started early yesterday.
Many of Douma’s residents have fled the nearly five-year conflict, moving to nearby rural areas. Syria’s civil war, which began as an uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, has killed more than 250,000 people and driven more than 10mn from their homes.
The areas have been under heavy bombardment in recent months. The Syrian army has said its strikes target insurgents that have launched attacks on government-held areas.
Last month, regime forces and rebel groups tried to agree on a 15-day ceasefire in Eastern Ghouta, but the talks failed and violence has resumed.
Air strikes in the area are at times conducted by Russian warplanes, which began carrying out an air war in Syria in September.
Suspected Russian strikes on Douma in November killed 23 Syrian civilians.
The Observatory, which has gathered information from a network of contacts on the ground since the start of the conflict in 2011, said at least 40 mortar bombs fired by insurgents in the eastern suburbs hit Damascus yesterday, killing at least one child and wounding several.
State news agency Sana said three civilians had been killed and at least 30 wounded in mortar attacks targeting residential neighbourhoods of Damascus. Most of the victims were school students, it said, citing its reporter in the area.
Assad said on Friday he would not negotiate with armed groups, appearing to scupper peace talks that Russia and the United States hope to bring about next month.