Air strikes on Syria's eastern Ghouta kills over 30 civilians

In its month-long assault, the Syrian military has marched into much of eastern Ghouta, the last major insurgent bastion around Damascus.

According to AI, Syria's Eastern Ghouta has been under a catastrophic situation; with more than 400,000 people suffering under the Syrian government's tightened siege since November 2017.

He also said Turkish government forces and their allies "continue to take ground rapidly" in the Kurdish enclave of Afrin, and that there are reports of shelling on opposition-besieged Foua and Kefrya, airstrikes in Idlib and a new opposition offensive in Hama, as well as clashes and airstrikes in Daraa in southern Syria.

At least 10,000 people flooded out of the town of Hamoriya in Eastern Ghouta on the outskirts of the capital Thursday, one of the largest single-day exoduses of the war, which has now entered its eighth year.

Air strikes on the town of Zamalka there killed 12 people on Thursday, it said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says regime strikes killed over 30 civilians in eastern Ghouta's Zamalka town as people were preparing to flee the enclave.

Speaking about the capture of Kafr Batna, al-Shami of the Syrian Civil Defense said people "fled in the streets not knowing in which direction to go". They have accused the factions of preventing residents from leaving, which the fighters deny.

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Doyle, who says he regularly speaks to residents in Eastern Ghouta, said rebel groups and government forces were both to blame for the suffering of the people there. "They said now we were within the state's embrace", he recalled.

Hamad said militants in Ghouta had fired at his brother, killing him and injuring his sons, for trying to get out.

More than 350,000 people have been killed and millions more displaced since the conflict emerged in 2011, when government forces launched a brutal crackdown against peaceful protesters calling for the release of political prisoners and Assad to step down.

The Observatory said that almost 200,000 people have fled the region of Afrin over the past days and entered government-controlled areas nearby, adding that 11 people were killed Saturday when a shell hit a truck carrying fleeing people.

The Turkish military denied on Saturday it had struck a hospital in Afrin, saying it waged the campaign in a way that would not hurt civilians. This comes after a Russian air raid on the besieged Syrian enclave killed 70 people.

Rezan Heddo, a YPG media adviser, and state TV, said people arriving in the nearby towns of Nubul and Zahraa, under government control, received some aid.

  • Adam Floyd