BEIRUT: At least 44 people were killed in and near the Syrian capital Sunday in regime airstrikes and rebel mortar fire, reports from an anti-regime monitoring group and state media said. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain based monitor, said at least 32 people were killed in air raids on two rebel-held towns near Damascus.
Seventeen were killed in Douma, northeast of the capital, and 15 in Kfar Batna, to the east, said Observatory head Rami Abdel-Rahman. A woman and child were killed in each of the towns.
Meanwhile, the Syrian Revolution General Commission, a coalition of opposition groups, gave a higher figure, of 45 fatalities in the two incidents.
State news agency SANA said 12 people were killed in rebel mortar fire in southern districts of Damascus.
“Twelve people including a girl were martyred and 23 others wounded in terrorist attacks with mortars on the Shaghour, Bustan al-Dur and Dweilaa districts,” it said.
With the more-than-three-year-old conflict raging across Syria, the rebel bastion of Douma has been besieged by regime forces for more than a year, and it has been the target of regular bombardment.
Activists on the ground confirmed Sunday’s air raids, saying that markets had been the targets. Both towns are in the Eastern Ghouta region in the east of Damascus province.
The Observatory said earlier in the day that mortar bombs targeted several areas of western Damascus, including Mezzeh prison and Omayyad Square.
It said a number of people were injured in the neighborhood of Muhajirin when mortar bombs struck the area, adding that the Islamic Union rebel militia was responsible for the incidents. The group recently announced its intention to step up attacks on the capital to avenge a series of “massacres” committed by the regime over the Eid al-Fitr holiday.