Syrian Airstrikes Kill Dozens of Civilians, Many Children, in Damascus Suburb

Attacks Targeted Rebel-Held Towns in Contested Enclave

As has been the case for the past several days, Syrian warplanes were active in the skies over the rebel-held towns in the Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta. Heavy strikes killed dozens of civilians.

Children walk on rubble of damaged buildings after an airstrike in the besieged town of Douma in eastern Ghouta in Damascus,

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the Wednesday attacks killed at least 31 civilians, and 12 of them were children. The Syrian government denied deliberately attacking civilian targets, but provided no specifics on what they thought they were attacking.

This has been a recurring problem with air campaigns against rebel targets in Syria, as they tend to be within relatively densely populated areas, and neither Syria, nor Russia, nor the US and its allies seem to be able to attack rebels in such areas without getting a lot of civilian bystanders.

Eastern Ghouta is the last rebel-held enclave near Damascus, and parts of it have been held virtually for the entire war. Expelling the rebels from the surrounding area has been slow, and mostly seen them evacuated to Idlib Provence. With Idlib now also under siege, it’s not clear there’s anyplace for the remnants to evacuate to, and the rebels likewise seem to have little interest in negotiating.

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.