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More than 100 people killed in Douma, Syria since Monday

Hundreds have been killed since a resumption of hostilities between the government and rebels last Thursday
Syrian civilians search for survivors at the site of reported air strikes by regime forces in the rebel-held area of Douma, east of the capital Damascus (AFP)

More government airstrikes pounded the Syrian city of Douma near Damascus on Tuesday, with the death toll since Monday now thought to be near 150.

Activists from the Syrian Network for Human Rights said that more than 100 people were killed on Monday, after bodies were retrieved from the rubble and the Local Coordinating Committees said another 38 died in and near the town on Tuesday.

Syrian activists said barrel bombs, containers packed with explosives and dropped from aeroplanes, were used in the assault.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on Monday that no such weapons were being used.

"They're called bombs. We have bombs, missiles and bullets ... There is no barrel bombs, we don't have barrels," he told the BBC on Tuesday.

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.

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