Syria: 40 civilians killed in air strike in Eastern Ghouta

Casey Dawson
April 8, 2018

Extremists of Jaish al-Islam, a faction of Al-Nusra Front, the only armed group that has not left Eastern Ghouta, launched the latest strikes on Damascus amidst a state of collapse and chaos among its ranks, Syrian news agency, SANA, reported on Saturday from the outskirts of Douma.

State media denied the reports saying "such farces about chemical weapons" were triggered by the troops' quick push toward Douma.

The Observatory said at least 15 civilians had been killed by shelling targeting the centre and suburbs of Damascus during the past 24 hours. "We can't even count all the wounded", said Mohammed, a young doctor inside Douma.

The Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) said that medical staff they supported inside Douma had reported chlorine use.

"There are some wounded who we couldn't operate on in time, and they died".

Those still trapped in Douma had been nervous that any attempt to renege on plans to leave would prompt Russian Federation and regime warplanes to resume deadly strikes.

According to the Syrian Civil Defence, a group of rescuers operating in opposition-held areas in Syria, the air raids killed at least 30 civilians, including women and children.

"The bombing has not stopped".

The regime and its ally Russian Federation launched a blistering air and ground offensive on Eastern Ghouta in mid-February, killing more than 1,600 civilians and causing an global outcry. It sliced the area into three isolated pockets each held by different rebel factions.

Smokes rise after Assad regime forces carried out air strikes in eastern Ghouta's Douma town in Damascus, Syria on April 07, 2018.

Tens of thousands of people are estimated to be sheltering in Douma.

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Jaish al-Islam appeared to have agreed to an evacuation deal, as did other groups in two other areas, and indeed around 4,000 fighters and relatives left the town on Monday.

"All of a sudden, with no warning, the shelling starts".

Douma is the largest city in eastern Ghouta. Jaish al-Islam's political official called for talks to spare civilian bloodshed.

As talks over the third and final pocket of Douma dragged on, Russian Federation and Syria's regime threatened Jaish al-Islam with a renewed military assault if they did not agree to withdraw.

Others have pointed to internal rebel divisions over the withdrawal process.

"The talks were going well", he said, but power struggles between the regimes allies had caused them to break down.

It also said there were cases of suffocation among civilians from residential areas after they were targeted by "poison gas "chlorine".

The resumption of strikes stunned civilians.

The wounded were being brought in with fractures and other injuries, and there had been three amputations on Friday alone, he said.

Syrian troops were matching their renewed bombing with a ground operation in the orchards surrounding Douma.

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