At least 40 civilians were killed in air strikes in the last rebel-held town of Eastern Ghouta in Syria yesterday. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, dozens of air strikes hit various parts of Douma, including some suspected to have been carried out by Russian warplanes.
Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said dozens of people had been injured and the army launched a ground offensive on its outskirts after talks sputtered over a rebel withdrawal.
Backed by Russia, Syrian troops have captured nearly all of the one-time opposition stronghold of Ghouta with a combination of ferocious bombing raids and negotiated withdrawals.
Moscow announced a deal with Jaish al-Islam last Sunday, ushering in three consecutive days of evacuations from Douma. But, the evacuations stalled this week amid reports of Jaish al-Islam remained divided over a withdrawal, and heavy bombing hit Douma yesterday afternoon for the first time in 10 days.