The Syrian regime intensified its aerial strikes and artillery shelling of Eastern Ghouta near Damascus on Sunday, as it carried out a wide military operation to expand its control of the region.
Activist Abdul Malek Abboud told Asharq Al-Awsat that the increased strikes against Ghouta targeted an orphanage in the town of Masraba.
He said that dozens of people have been killed in the areas where the regime is attempting to advance.
Eastern Ghouta is one of the last remaining rebel strongholds near Damascus. It is part of a de-escalation zone, but Abboud said that the area has witnessed an “unprecedented” escalation.
This was kicked off by the regime’s failure to recapture from the Ahrar al-Sham group areas in the Hrasta region, he explained.
Ghouta has so far been targeted by thousands of shells and hundreds of airstrikes, Abboud said.
Furthermore, the humanitarian condition of some 400,000 civilians still there is deteriorating with the rise in consumer goods prices and drop in medicine supplies.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that 25 civilians were killed in Masraba, Medera and Douma.
This brings the death toll to 127 since the regime, backed by Russian airstrikes, kicked off a campaign to recapture Eastern Ghouta two weeks ago.
Military sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the regime is trying to advance on the Hrasta front, where it is fighting the Ahrar al-Sham group, and on the Joubar front, where it is fighting the Failaq al-Rahman group.