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Syrian regime steps up aerial assault on Douma Open in fullscreen

Alexander Ayyoub

Syrian regime steps up aerial assault on Douma

The search for suvivors continues after airstrikes on Douma [AFP]

Date of publication: 12 February, 2015

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Casualties mount in the Eastern Ghouta city, as the regime continues its assault for the tenth day in a row.
More than 120 people have been killed as troops allied to the Syrian regime stepped up attacks on Syria's Eastern Ghouta governorate, focusing on the city of Douma, around 10km northeast of Damascus.

Regime aircraft have dropped more than 1,000 bombs on the city in at least 150 airstrikes during the past ten days, according to analysts.

"Rescue teams and volunteers continue to search for survivors and bodies under the rubble, amid the mass destruction of neighbourhoods," Osama Said, a Douma-based media activist, told al-Araby al-Jadeed.

At least 400 people - mainly women and children - have been injured during this bombing campaign, and 500 residential buildings have been destroyed, according to the city's monitoring and documentation office.

Retaliation

The administration of President Bashar al-Assad said attacks had been ramped up after Zahran Alloush, leader of the Army of Islam - a merged collection of rebel opposition groups - declared Damascus a military zone [Ar], and shot hundreds of missiles at the capital.

     Rescue teams and volunteers continue to search for survivors and bodies.
- Osama Said, media activist

The latest escalation is also an attempt by regime forces to break into Eastern Ghouta, which is controlled by the Army of Islam.

Douma-based activists have drawn the world's attention to their tragedy using the hashtag #Douma_exterminated and its Arabic equivalent.

Pictures and videos of the city posted using the hashtag have shown dozens of severely injured children receiving treatment at makeshift hospitals, as well as injured civilians and dead bodies being pulled from the rubble.

"Pictures from Douma and the high civilian body count show the regime is targeting residential areas, not military sites," said Hisham Marwah, the Syrian National Coalition's (SNC) vice-president.

The regime has used this policy of collective punishment in many parts of Syria since the uprising began, he added.

Marwah called on the international community to put pressure on Assad's regime to stop the massacres immediately. "The international alliance should add Assad's positions to the locations it is targeting in its attacks on the Islamic State group in Syria," he added.

Other locations targeted by Assad's troops this week in Eastern Ghouta include the towns of Misraba, Ayn Tarma, Arbin and Kafr Batna, and the al-Wafideen refugee camp.

This article is an edited translation
from our Arabic edition.

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