Damascus (February 20, 2018): Bombardments by Syrian government forces have killed dozens of civilians in the rebel-held Eastern Ghouta area outside Damascus, activists say.
At least 77 civilians, including 20 children, were killed in air strikes and rocket fire, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.The army is believed to be preparing a ground offensive.Urging a halt to the bombardment, a UN official said the situation was spiralling out of control.
Almost 400,000 people live in the Eastern Ghouta, which has been under siege since 2013.
It is the last remaining opposition-held enclave near the capital Damascus.Syrian forces stepped up their campaign to retake the area earlier this month, reportedly killing hundreds of people and injuring many more.
It led to a rare ceasefire to deliver supplies to civilians living in the conflict zone.Meanwhile, Turkey warned the Syrian government not to help Kurds fighting against Turkish forces in northern Syria.