Strikes kill 32 in Ghouta as world fumbles for response
DOUMA: Syrian regime air strikes and artillery fire hit the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta for a sixth straight day on Friday killing 32 civilians, as the world struggled to reach a deal to stop the carnage.
More than 450 civilians, including over 100 children, have been killed in nearly a week of bombardment that has been one of the seven-year Syrian conflict’s bloodiest episodes — and rescuers were searching for more bodies buried in the rubble.
The leaders of France and Germany urged Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose air force is also striking Eastern Ghouta near Damascus, to back a 30-day truce at a UN Security Council vote.
Few of Eastern Ghouta’s nearly 400,000 residents — mostly living in a scattering of towns across the semi-rural area east of the capital — ventured out on Friday.
A correspondent in Douma, the enclave’s main town, saw a handful of people stealthily crossing rubble-strewn streets to assess damage to their property or look for food and water.
He said rescuers carried a young boy wounded in the eye, blood trickling down his face, to one of the town’s hospitals. “Will I see again?,” he asked a doctor.
Death has fallen from the sky relentlessly since government and allied forces intensified their bombardment on Sunday and rocket fire soon forced everybody to run for cover.
Exhausted and famished families cowered in cramped and damp basements, exchanging information on the latest casualties of the government’s blitz.
Some of the only people braving the threat of more bombardment were medical staff in those hospitals still standing and rescuers sifting through the wreckage of levelled buildings.
Fresh strikes on Friday, by the Syria regime and its Russian ally, killed at least 32 civilians, including six children, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Britain-based war monitor, said the strikes targeted different areas of Eastern Ghouta.
The latest deaths brought to 462 the number of people killed — including 103 children — since the regime and Russia intensified their bombardment of the besieged area on February 18.
More than 2,000 people have been wounded.