At least 17 civilians were killed – four of them children – and more than 40 were injured on Saturday in a day of airstrikes in the Syrian region of Eastern Ghouta, according to the White Helmets volunteer rescue group. The same organization reported dozens of government airstrikes in the area, as the government accelerates its offensive to take control of the last rebel-held territories of the country. These latest attacks, which have been backed by Moscow, began nine days ago.
The Syirian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the conflict, added to the White Helmets’ report that Sytian and Russian aircrafts had targeted several residential areas. It also stated that a coalition of rebels and jihadists had surrounded the only Syrian-regime base in Eastern Ghouta a few days ago.
In footage provided by the White Helmets, rescuers are seen digging through mounds of rubble to reach a man and a little girl. In other videos, residents are seen to scream as they try to escape heavily damaged buildings, while those injured are laid on stretchers and loaded onto vans to be treated. However, medical care is increasingly difficult to find in these rebel-held areas. In Eastern Ghouta, at least ten medical facilities – including a Women and Children’s hospital – have been hit by airstrikes over this nine-day period of bombing.