Assad forces and their allied foreign militias fired a barrage of rockets and artillery shells on towns and villages of Beit Jinn in the western suburb of Damascus on Sunday, hitting the rebel-held area with over 800 artillery shells and rockets in the past 24 hours. The shelling left many civilians killed and injured.
Assad forces and the Iranian-backed militias have intensified their military operations in the western Damascus suburbs over the past three months, targeting residential areas with barrel bombs, artillery shells and rockets.
Local activists said that the Beit Jinn area has been hit with around 50 ‘elephant rockets’ on daily basis in recent weeks. ‘Elephant rockets’ are improvised, indiscriminate ground-to-ground rockets that have high destructive power.
Activists pointed out that the Assad forces were employing “scorched earth” policy in attempts to advance on the area. Regime forces and their allies have also escalated attacks on eastern Ghouta in recent weeks in an attempt to advance on the rebel-held Damascus suburbs in clear violation of the ‘de-escalation zones’ agreement.
During the latest round of peace talks in Geneva, the Syrian opposition’s Negotiations Committee called for an end to the shelling of eastern Ghouta and said that regime forces and their allies were committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Damascus suburb.
Activists and media outlets have in recent months published photos of children with emaciated bodies resulting from undernourishment in besieged eastern Ghouta. In early December, the United Nations announced that 540 patients and sick people, including around 137 children, need urgent medical evacuation from the area which is besieged by regime forces.
Syrian doctors have warned of a humanitarian disaster threatening the lives of 1,200 cancer patients in eastern Ghouta. At least 32 patients have already died, including children and women due to lack of medicine. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)