17 Aug 2015

Douma air strikes: one of Syria’s bloodiest attacks

The death toll from Syrian government air strikes on a market in an under-siege area of Damascus passes 100, making it one of the bloodiest attacks of the four-year war.

Rescue workers reported that 95 bodies had been identified and a further nine victims were to be identified after the army hit rebel-held Douma on the outskirts of the Syrian capital on Sunday.

Douma lies in the heavily contested Eastern Ghouta region to the east of Damascus. Eastern Ghouta has been the site of bloody clashes between the Syrian army and rebels, as well atrocities such as the 2013 chemical weapons attacks.

Syrian child victim

Last week Amnesty International released a report detailing the suffering of 160,000 civilians trapped in the area and “left to die under siege”.

The report described how between January and June this year around 500 civilians had died in government air strikes, often described as “indiscriminate” and “grossly disproportionate”.

Civilians were also dying from starvation and lack of medical supplies and the Syrian army and rebel groups prevent basic supplies reach those who need them.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that at least 10 rockets were fired in the latest attack, and the regime was accused of firing rockets after rescue workers had arrived.

“This is an official massacre that was carried out deliberately,” the Observatory’s Rami Abdurrahman said.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime has been accused of repeatedly using indiscriminate weapons such as barrel bombs, and of deliberately targeting civilians.

Douma Syria attack victims

The Turkey-based Syrian political opposition group, the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, said the attack aimed to inflict as many civilian casualties as possible.

A Syrian military source said the air force launched air strikes in Douma and the nearby area of Harasta against the headquarters of an insurgent group, the Army of Islam.