Russian Federation and Syrian airstrikes kill 17 civilians in east Ghouta, says NGO

Watchdog: Russian Airstrikes Kills Civilians in Syria

Watchdog: Russian Airstrikes Kills Civilians in Syria

At least 17 civilians were killed on Saturday in regime and Russian airstrikes on the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta the capital Damascus, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Syrian regime forces battled Thursday to reach an encircled army base in rebel bastion eastern Ghouta, as a monitor said over 40 civilians and soldiers were killed in two days of bombardments.

Assad forces have been bombing Eastern Ghouta since last November.

Hundreds more patients are in urgent need of evacuation from the enclave, where there are only 107 doctors and severe shortages of medical supplies.

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Two people were killed in the town of Madira and three in Erbin, the Observatory head added, saying 35 people were also wounded in the three areas.

Seven children and 11 women were among those killed, said the head of the war monitor, which relies on a network of sources inside Syria.

One of the organisation's volunteer rescue workers - who are commonly known as the White Helmets - died after a "double-tap" strike on one building.

The ministry said two Russian service personnel were killed in a mortar attack on the base by rebels, according to TASS. Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 10 million others displaced, according to United Nations officials.

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There was no immediate confirmation by the Russian military, which is providing air support to government forces fighting rebels.

Russia denied a report in daily newspaper Kommersant that seven Russian planes had been destroyed by rebel shelling at Syria's Hmeymim air base on December 31, the TASS news agency quoted the defense ministry as saying on Thursday.

A government forces base, the only one in the region, was surrounded by rebels earlier this week.

In a separate development, the Russian defence ministry denied a report in the newspaper Kommersant that seven Russian military planes had been destroyed by rebel shelling on Sunday of the Hmeimim airbase, near Latakia.

Israeli jets destroy tunnel near Egypt-Gaza border
To press that point home, there will be a closure of the Kerem Shalom crossing, as a necessary security measure. He said he was not aware of any casualties from the destruction of the tunnel, which was still being built.

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