Watchdog: 29 civilians killed in Syrian attacks on rebel bastion

CAIRO (dpa)- At least 29 civilians died in fierce attacks by Syrian government forces on a besieged rebel-held area near Damascus during the past two days, a monitoring group said Sunday.
Those killed in the rebel region of Eastern Ghouta on the outskirts of the capital included nine children, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights added.

The highest toll was in Eastern Ghouta’s Islamist-controlled town of Harsta, where 18 civilians were killed in government airstrikes, according to the watchdog that relies on a network of activists inside Syria.
During the past two days, Syrian forces stepped up shelling and air attacks on Eastern Ghouta, one of the remaining opposition strongholds in the war-ravaged country.
The violence comes two days after 29 critically ill people had been evacuated from Eastern Ghouta under a deal with the government.
A total of 400,000 people in the region have been largely cut off from humanitarian aid since 2013.
Eastern Ghouta has been under siege by forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for the past four years.
In recent months, al-Assad's forces, supported by Russian air power, have regained ground from Western-backed opposition fighters and militants in a devastating multi-sided conflict that started with peaceful anti-government protests in 2011.

Monday, January 1st 2018

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