Monitor: Syria regime strikes kill 82 after rebels hit capital

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Dozens of Syrian regime strikes on an opposition-held area near Damascus have killed at least 82 people, a monitor said Friday, in the deadliest such onslaught since November.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitor, said the new toll in the Thursday air strikes on the Eastern Ghouta region included at least 18 children.

The regime assault, which also killed 16 rebel fighters, involved more than 60 air strikes, as well as surface-to-surface missiles, the Observatory said.

It was the deadliest aerial attack by government forces since November 25, when 95 people were killed in air strikes on Raqa, the self-proclaimed capital of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria group.

Thursday's strikes came after a rebel group in Eastern Ghouta fired a barrage of at least 120 mortar rounds and rockets into Damascus, killing 10 people, among them a child.

Residents said the capital was quiet on Friday and that the mortar and rocket fire appeared to be over.

But regime air strikes were continuing in Eastern Ghouta, the Observatory said.

The key rebel bastion on the outskirts of Damascus has been under siege for nearly two years, leading to food and medical shortages.

Since mid-2012, the government has carried out frequent air raids there and on other on rebel-held areas.

Rights groups accuse it of indiscriminately killing both civilians and insurgents.

More than 200,000 people have died in the Syrian conflict, which began with anti-government protests in March 2011 and escalated into a civil war.

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