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Eastern Ghouta: Five-day death toll tops 400

The Syrian regime has escalated its bombing campaign on Eastern Ghouta [Getty]

Date of publication: 22 February, 2018

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More than 400 civilians have died in a five-day bombing blitz on the rebel-held Syrian enclave of Eastern Ghouta.
The death toll in Syria's besieged Eastern Ghouta has topped 400, a monitor said Thursday, as the UN prepares to hold an emergency meeting to end the slaughter.

"Five days of air strikes and intense artillery fire by the regime and its Russian ally have killed 403 civilians, including 95 children," the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The head of the Britain-based Observatory, Rami Abdel Rahman, said 46 people were killed in strikes and rocket fire on Thursday.

Bodies of victims killed earlier in the week were also retrieved from the wreckage of destroyed buildings, bringing the overall death toll to 403.

Syria's military, backed by Russia, escalated its brutal bombing campaign of the rebel-held Damascus suburb on Sunday, forcing some 400,000 trapped civilians to shelter in basements.

Aid groups and NGOs have slammed the regime's brutality, with Save the Children describing the extent of the  destruction as surpassing even the Aleppo crisis in 2016.

The UN's children's agency UNICEF issued a blank statement in response to the unprecedented levels of violence. "We no longer have the words to describe children's suffering and our outrage," it said.

The escalating bombing campaign suggests the regime is paving way for a ground assault soon. Held by rebels since 2012, Eastern Ghouta is the last opposition pocket around Damascus and President Bashar al-Assad is keen to retake it, seemingly at any cost.

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