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Assad airstrikes kill 15 in Douma as assault on East Ghouta continues

The attack comes days after another another wave of strikes rocked the Eastern Ghouta region, killing more than 80
A man walks through the smoke and rubble following 9 February government strikes on Douma (AFP)

At least 15 people were killed and dozens more wounded on Monday as Syrian government planes pounded Douma, a town near the capital Damascus.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring organisation, there were no immediate details of who exactly was caught up in the strike, although women and children have been confirmed as being among the injured.

Douma, the main city in the rebel stronghold of Eastern Ghouta, has seen heavy fighting in recent days with government forces launching daily raids on the district. According to eyewitnesses and journalists on the ground, who recently spoke to Middle East Eye, the region has also been rocked by increasing inter-rebel violence which has seen rival groups vie for power.

The latest bout of fighting erupted on Thursday after rebel groups shelled Damascus from Eastern Ghouta, killing 10. The government air force quickly responded by pounding Eastern Ghouta and Douma, killing more than 80, including 18 children, and injuring at least 120 others in just one day.

At a field clinic in Douma, an AFP photographer saw a girl in a purple headscarf and another child in a woolly hat crying as doctors treated the wounded, among them a young boy.

His eyes stared wide in apparent shock from a face streaked with blood and white dust. His arm was bandaged and attached to a rudimentary drip.

In the streets outside, locals picked through rubble, carrying the wounded to the clinic, while a civil defence worker trained a hose on a fire set by the strikes.

The opposition bastion, east of Damascus, was still reeling from a massive government aerial assault on Thursday that came after rebels fired more than 120 rockets and mortar rounds into the capital.

Eastern Ghouta has been under government siege for nearly two years as the army tries to break the rebel hold over the area.

The siege has created medical and food shortages, exacerbating dire humanitarian needs created by regular government bombardment of the area.

More than 210,000 people have been killed in Syria since the beginning of the country's conflict in March 2011.