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Syria regime raids kill 37 civilians near Damascus

Rebels often fire into the Syrian capital from bases on the outskirts of region [Getty]

Date of publication: 12 August, 2015

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Scores of civilians were killed in Syrian government airstrikes on Eastern Ghouta near Damascus on Wednesday, while a 48-hour truce is announced between Hizballah fighters and rebels in Zabadani.

At least 37 civilians were killed in Syrian government airstrikes on Eastern Ghouta near Damascus on Wednesday, as a barrage of deadly rebel rocket fire hit the capital, a monitor said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said at least 120 people were injured in the raids, several of them seriously, and that the death toll was likely to rise.

The air raids hit the towns of Douma, Saqba, Kafr Batna and Hammouriyeh in Eastern Ghouta, a rebel stronghold region outside the capital.

The strikes came as rebels fired dozens of rockets into Damascus, killing at least four people, according to Syria's interior ministry.

The ministry, quoted by state television, said "four people were killed and 58 others were wounded, in addition to material damage", in residential neighbourhoods of Damascus.

The Observatory said rebels fired a barrage of at least 50 rockets and put the toll at five dead - four civilians and a soldier - with 59 people hurt.

Rebels often fire into the Syrian capital from rear bases on the outskirts of Damascus, including at times barrages of hundreds of missiles.

Rights groups have condemned indiscriminate rebel rocket fire into the capital as amounting to war crimes.

The government regularly carries out airstrikes against rebel-held areas on the outskirts of Damascus, particularly Eastern Ghouta which is also under regime siege.

Truce reached between Hizballah and rebels

Meanwhile, Lebanon's Hizballah group's television station and SOHR have said a 48-hour cease has started in a Syrian border town and two Shia villages in northern Syria between the group's fighters and rebels there.

Al-Manar TV and SOHR said the ceasefire in Zabadani near the Lebanese border and the northern villages of Foua and Kfarya went into effect Wednesday morning.

Hizballah and Syrian troops have been trying to fully capture the one-time rebel stronghold of Zabadani for more than a month.

A coalition of rebel groups which calls itself Jaysh al-Fateh, or Conquest Army, retaliated by attacking Foua and Kfarya, which are home to mostly Shia villagers. A large number of civilians are trapped there by the fighting.

US-led coalition hits rebel arms depot

The US-led coalition against the Islamic State group hit a weapons depot belonging to a rebel group allied with al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate overnight in northwestern Syria, SOHR also said Wednesday.

The strikes killed 10 members of the Jaish al-Sunna group, as well as a child, the monitoring group added.

The raid hit the Atmeh region of Idlib province, home to a large camp for displaced Syrians, but did not strike the camp itself, Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said.

"The strikes hit the weapons depot, but there are civilians living nearby," he said.

Jaish al-Sunna belongs to the Army of Conquest alliance that has captured much of Idlib province from the Syrian government in recent months.

The Army of Conquest alliance includes al-Nusra Front, which is al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate, as well as other Islamist rebel forces.

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