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Dozens killed in Eastern Ghouta by Syrian army strikes

The Syrian army bombarded the rebel-held stronghold of Eastern Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus
A Syrian man carries a baby wrapped in a blanket following air strikes on the town of Douma (AFP)

At least 28 civilians were killed in heavy bombardment of a besieged Syrian rebel stronghold, including near a school, east of Damascus on Sunday, a monitoring group said.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, rockets fired by President Bashar al-Assad's forces rained down on Douma, one of the largest towns in the opposition-held Eastern Ghouta region. 

Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said airstrikes also hit Douma and the nearby town of Saqba.

Two children were among the dead, and dozens of people were wounded, he said.

"One of the air strikes on Douma hit near a school, killing the school's principal," Abdel Rahman told AFP. 

Men carried children across the dust-covered rubble of destroyed buildings in Douma, whose streets were littered with debris and shards of glass, according to an AFP photographer on the scene. 

According to the Syrian Civil Defense, at least 40 people were killed from both government and Russian air strikes in Douma, Saqba, Kafr Batna, and Hammouriya.

A local activist group in Douma shared photographs on Facebook of crumbling buildings and bloodied children lying in a makeshift clinic.

Government forces regularly bombard Eastern Ghouta, and rebels there fire rockets and mortar shells into the capital.

On Sunday, a young girl was killed and three people were wounded in rebel mortar fire on Damascus, according to the national news agency SANA.

Last week, government air strikes on a market in Kafr Batna, which lies 15 kilometres from Damascus, killed over 50 civilians. At least eight of the bodies were charred beyond recognition.

Last month, government forces and rebel groups tried to agree on a 15-day ceasefire in Eastern Ghouta, but the talks failed and violence has resumed.

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