At least 250 civilians have been killed within the last 48 hours, 57 of them children, in a Syrian army bombardment of the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta, reported the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) on Wednesday morning.
The SOHR Chief Rami Abdel Rahman said the civilian death toll from Monday's bombardment of the enclave outside Damascus was the heaviest since early 2015.
The White Helmets, a group of local search and rescue volunteer workers in Syria, shared a video on their Twitter account of a man rescuing a baby from the wreckage caused by the raids.
Civil Defense teams worked to rescue a baby, and a panic among civilians after the renewed aerial bombardment on residential neighborhoods in #Douma city in #EastrenGhouta. #SaveGhouta pic.twitter.com/1umEHaiiqa— The White Helmets (@SyriaCivilDef) February 20, 2018
The United Nations warned on Monday that the heavy Syrian bombardment must stop immediately.
"It’s imperative to end this senseless human suffering now. Such targeting of innocent civilians and infrastructure must stop now," Panos Moumtzis, the UN’s Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria Crisis said in a statement.
Several days of bombardment on Eastern Ghouta, near Damascus, has killed hundreds of people, with one monitor of Syria’s seven-year conflict saying that at least 77 people had died there on Monday alone.
Held by rebels since 2012, Eastern Ghouta is the last opposition pocket around Damascus and President Bashar al-Assad has dispatched reinforcements there in an apparent concerted effort to retake it.
Moumtzis, whose organization has repeatedly called for a cessation of fighting in Eastern Ghouta to allow in desperately needed food and medical aid, said the humanitarian situation in the rebel enclave was "spiraling out of control".
"The recent escalation of violence compounds an already precarious humanitarian situation for the 393,000 residents of East Ghouta, many of them internally displaced," he said.
Fresh raids kill 45 more civilians
Fresh air strikes hit the Syrian rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta on Tuesday killing 45 civilians as a ferocious regime bombardment entered its third day, a monitor said.
Twelve children were among the dead, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor of the war. This brings the total death toll since the air strikes began to over 150 people.