Report: Syrian Airstrikes Kill 56 Civilians Around Damascus

Rebel Factions Blame Russia for Deadly Strike

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, heavy airstrikes and artillery shelling in the area around Eastern Ghouta and Douma, a rebel-held area on the outskirts of Damascus, left at least 56 civilians dead, including a number of children.

The observatory reported the strikes were carried out by the Syrian military, though the local rebel factions accused the Russian military of being behind the attacks, saying they deliberately targeted civilians in the attacks.

The Eastern Ghouta region has been rebel-held for years, and is regularly targeted by deadly airstrikes. Though surrounded by the Syrian military for a long time, they’ve never made any serious effort to move into the area and retake it.

The rebels in Eastern Ghouta have been implicated in using human shields in the past to increase the civilian death toll of airstrikes, famously keeping Shi’ites in cages and rolling them around to potential targets.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.