At least 20 civilians were killed on Saturday in air strikes and shelling by Syrian government forces in Douma, a Damascus suburb that is home to the Jaysh al-Islam rebel group, according to the Britain-based activist group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Some 200 people were wounded or still trapped under rubble, meaning that the death toll was expected to rise, said the Observatory, which is monitoring Syria’s civil conflict.
Forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have been carrying out air strikes on the suburb for more than a week.
The reported attacks come a week after army air strikes killed more than 90 people at a vegetable market and in other residential areas last Sunday, according to local activists.
The region is where a deadly chemical weapons attack occurred two years ago that the government and rebels each blame on each other.
The United Nations says that at least a quarter of a million people have been killed so far in the civil war, which began in 2011. More than half of the country’s pre-war population of 22.4 million has been made homeless in Syria itself or fled abroad.
The conflict in Syria began with mostly peaceful protests in March 2011, but escalated into a full-fledged civil war after the Assad regime began a harsh crackdown.
tj/se (AFP, AP, dpa)