Syria war death toll rises; Hospitals bombed in eastern Ghouta

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A child walks near damaged buildings in the besieged town of Douma, Eastern Ghouta, Damascus, Syria February 20, 2018. Reuters/Bassam Khabieh

Scores of Syrians continue to be killed in airstrikes, with the death toll from two days of bombing rising to about 200. Among those killed were about 50 children in a situation that is "spiralling out of control.”

The rise in the death toll came amid reports of a looming regime incursion into the area outside Damascus, home to hundreds of civilians. Based on local counts, over 700 people have been killed in three months, excluding the deaths in the last week.

BBC reports activists as saying that more than 50 children were among the dead. They called the situation the worst violence in the Eastern Ghouta area near Damascus since 2013.

Forces were reportedly sent by the Damascus government to confront Turkish troops who have crossed the border. Meanwhile, the Syrian military said it carried out "precision strikes.”

Panos Moumtzis, the regional humanitarian coordinator for the Syria crisis, said in a statement released on Tuesday that what is happening in East Ghouta is beyond imagination. He said that residents have no idea whether they will live or die.

Since Monday, some hospitals have been bombed in eastern Ghouta. One of the hospitals has been put out of service while two suspended operations. Some hospitals in Douma, Marj and Saqba have become inoperable or partially functioning. A hospital in Zamalka was also hit.

Moumtzis said he was "appalled" by reports of the attacks against hospitals in East Ghouta that took lives and left many injured. Thousands of men, women and children have also been deprived of basic health services.

“I remind all parties that attacks against medical facilities is prohibited under international humanitarian law (IHL),” Moumtzis said in the statement. He called on all parties to respect and protect medical and humanitarian personnel, their means of transport and equipment, hospitals and other medical facilities.

The attacks come amid violence for the people in East Ghouta, a number of them internally displaced.

Speaking to the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organisations, a local doctor described the situation in the enclave as “catastrophic.” He shared that people have nowhere to go, and although they were trying to survive, their hunger from the siege has weakened them. The United States said it is "deeply concerned" about the attacks.

euronews (in English)/YouTube