Dozens Killed in Eastern Ghouta Attacks

Syrian and Russian forces have killed over 47 people in rebel-held Eastern Ghouta, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported. The latest casualties of the heavy aerial shelling on Tuesday bring the total number of deaths to 78 in the last 24 hours in the area near Damascus, the monitor said.

“Today there is no safe area at all. Right now, we have people under rubble, the targeting is ongoing, warplanes on residential neighborhoods,” said Siraj Mahmoud, head of the civil defense rescue service outside Damascus.

According to the UK-based monitor, this is the highest number of deaths recorded in a day in the past six weeks since attacks escalated, amounting to a total of 335 people killed. However, the Syrian Observatory also warned that the death toll could rise as they were still pulling bodies from the rubble, while many of the almost 200 wounded were in critical condition.

The office of Russia’s trade mission in Damascus was bombarded on Tuesday, with only physical damage to the building but no reported casualties. Syria’s SANA news agency reported that more than three people were killed in shelling in the old city of Damascus.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the UN mission in Syria called for a month-long truce which would “enable the delivery of humanitarian aid and services, evacuation of the critically sick and wounded, and alleviation of people’s suffering.”

The attacks come as Paulo Pinheiro, head of the UN-mandated International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, said that his team was looking into reports that chlorine may have been used in two attacks which happened recently in Eastern Ghouta and Idlib province, Al Jazeera reports.

He deemed the air raids as “extremely troubling” and said they make “a mockery of the so-called de-escalation zones.”