The Assad regime and Russian forces resumed the bombardment of the town of Douma with the aim of putting more pressure on residents of the besieged Damascus suburb to force them to leave as was the case in the rest of eastern Ghouta. The brutal bombardment left over 300 civilians killed and injured as no fewer than 150 airstrikes have hit the town over the past 24 hours.
The Assad regime and is allies are seeking to tighten the noose on Douma to complete the mass forced displacement of the people of eastern Ghouta in yet the biggest forced displacement in the past three years.
The Syrian Civil Defense in Rural Damascus said that the renewed aerial and rocket bombings claimed the lives of more than 40 civilians and injured dozens more on Friday. It pointed out that rescue workers struggled to rescue civilians trapped under the rubble of bombed buildings.
The volunteer aid group said that the relentless bombing raids continued into Saturday as fighter jets and helicopters deliberately targeted civilian homes and shops. It said that as many as 50 airstrikes and barrel bombs pounded the town on Saturday.
Local activists described the bombardment as ruthless, pointing out that more than eight jets and helicopters bombed the densely-populated town. They noted that warplanes have not left the sky over the town since Friday. They added that each jet fires four high explosive missiles containing incendiary munitions, while each helicopter drop three barrel bombs filled with cluster munitions in every bombing raid.
Towns and villages of eastern Ghouta have come under a ferocious onslaught since early February, with the Assad regime and Russian forces using internationally banned weapons, including chemical weapons, the white phosphorus, and napalm. The onslaught was accompanied by a suffocating siege forcing the population of about 400,000 people to evacuate to northwestern Syria.
The Syrian Coalition earlier said that the onslaught on eastern Ghouta constituted a war crime, calling upon the United Nations to support the resilience of the people of Douma and to prevent their displacement. It also called for enforcing UN Security Council resolution 2401 demanding a ceasefire and the delivery of humanitarian aid to those in need.
Rights groups reported a sharp increase in violence over the past two months coupled with mass forced displacement of more than half a million people. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)