At least 45 civilians were reported killed today, including 10 children, as a flurry of rocket fire out of Syrian military-held territory rained down on the Eastern Ghouta region, the suburb of Damascus which remains in rebel hands.
Among the main targets of fire was the Douma district, where one of the rockets hit near a school, killing the principal. Several children were reported wounded in that strike. This area has regularly come under fire in recent weeks.
There have been attempts to secure a ceasefire in this area, but its proximity to the capital has made it such a focus in the conflict that these efforts haven’t gained much traction with combatant factions. The Islamist rebels who control Eastern Ghouta have regularly used human shields, mostly Shi’ites and other “enemies” locked in cages who are ferried around to likely targets, to inflate civilian tolls.
In addition to Douma, the other areas of the Eastern Ghouta region which were hit included Saqba, Harasta, and Arbin. Though the attacks appear to have been carried out largely by the Syrian military, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said some of the airstrikes may have been carried out by Russia.