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NOW

Damascus town rocked by
airstrike “massacre”: activists

Pro-rebel outlets are calling Thursday's raids on Deir al-Asafir the most violent since the start of the Syria ceasefire on February 27.

Deir al-Asafir. (YouTube/hadei almonajed)

BEIRUT – Syrian regime airstrikes on a town southeast of Damascus have left at least 25 people dead in what activist media outlets are calling the bloodiest raid in the eastern Ghouta region of the Syrian capital since the start of the ceasefire in the country in late February.

 

“Warplanes conducted at least 10 raids on areas in the town of Deir al-Asafir, leading to dozens of deaths and injuries,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported Thursday.

 

The monitoring NGO noted that regime forces in past weeks have attempted to advance in the area in the southern sector of the eastern Ghouta suburbs around Deir al-Asafir in a bid to surround the town.

 

The Civil Defense Force for the opposition-held Damascus outskirts went into further details on the bombardment, saying that at least 25 people, including women and children, were killed in the “intense raids targeting residential areas of Deir al-Asafir.”

 

The death toll is expected to mount, with the Civil Defense cautioning that there are a number of missing people “under the rubble of destroyed homes.”

 

A video purports to show one of the strikes that rocked Deir al-Asafir on Thursday. (YouTube/Baladi News)

 

One Civil Defense member driving an ambulance was killed by an airstrike that hit the vehicle, according to the organization, while the only field hospital in Deir al-Asafir was “completely destroyed” while a local school was also targeted by one of the deadly raids.

 

“The Bashar al-Assad regime committed a new war crime that is tantamount to a crime against humanity,” the Civil Defense said in a fiery post on its Facebook page.

 

The local civil council of Deir al-Asafir, for its part, reported an even higher death toll of 32 people following 14 airstrikes on the town.

 

Pro-rebel outlets also covered Thursday’s air raids and broadcaste gruesome videos of the victims, while Orient News said that its office in the town had been completely destroyed.

 

Orient described the attack as the “most violent military escalation in Eastern Ghouta since the [Syria] ceasefire went into effect” on February 27. 

 

NOW’s English news desk editor Albin Szakola (@AlbinSzakola) wrote this report. 

Damage caused by Thursday's strikes on Deir al-Asafir. (YouTube/hadei almonajed)

The Bashar al-Assad regime committed a new war crime that is tantamount to a crime against humanity.