Syrian warplanes kill 59, injure 139 in Eastern Ghouta, monitor says

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Syrian government air strikes killed about 60 civilians, including 15 children, and injured 139 others on Thursday, the fourth day of attacks against a rebel-held region, a war monitor reported.

Warplanes pounded various parts of eastern Ghouta, a besieged pocket of satellite towns and farms near the Syrian capital of Damascus, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group.

There was no immediate comment from the Syrian army.

The death toll rose  after the bombing of a market in the village of Arbin, where air strikes killed 21, including nine children and three women, the monitor said.

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A Syrian man carries a child following reported Syrian air force strikes in the rebel-held town of Saqba, in the besieged Eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of the capital Damascus on Thursday. (Abdulmonam Eassa/AFP/Getty Images)

The International Committee of the Red Cross in Syria expressed distress at the deteriorating security and humanitarian conditions in the area.

“Thousands are struggling to survive without aid, or a safe place from the line of fire” in eastern Ghouta, it said in a tweet.

The Syrian government has repeatedly said it only targets militants.

In Damascus, shelling of the old city quarter by rebel factions in eastern Ghouta killed two civilians and damaged houses and properties.

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Members of Syrian civil defence forces known as White Helmets rescue a victim of an air strike in the rebel-held enclave of Arbin in the Eastern Ghouta on Thursday. (Amer Almohibany/AFP/Getty Images)

UN calls for ceasefire

The United Nations called on Tuesday for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Syria of at least a month.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert says the U.S. supports the UN ceasefire call. She says the goal is to allow humanitarian aid and medical care to flow to more than 700 civilians in eastern Ghouta.

The U.S. says Russia must use its influence over Assad’s forces to ensure Syria immediately allows UN aid to reach vulnerable civilians.

Nauert says the U.S. is “extremely concerned” about the growing violence in eastern Ghouta, as well as in Idlib.

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