4 killed in Syria 'truce zone' bombing
DAMASCUS - Syrian government air strikes killed at least four civilians, including a child, in a rebel-held town in a "de-escalation zone" outside the capital Damascus on Thursday, a monitor said.
The strikes hit the town of Douma, which lies in the Eastern Ghouta region, where a truce deal agreed by regime allies Iran and Russia and rebel backer Turkey has been in place since July.
Despite the deal, there has been an uptick in government bombardment of the area in recent days.
Humanitarian groups have also warned of a malnutrition crisis in the area, which is under a tight government siege.
"Regime planes fired rockets on several parts of Douma," said Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor.
"Four civilians were killed, including a child," he said, adding that 21 others were wounded.
An AFP photographer saw some of the wounded being treated at a local medical facility, where some of the dead were also being received.
Ziad, 13, suffered a head injury after being caught up in the strike on his way home.
"I was coming back from school when the first strike hit and I hid in a doorway," he said.
"The plane came back a second time and I tried to get down to the basement, but the force of the second strike knocked the door closed and it injured my head and nose."
Up to 400,000 people are believed to live in Eastern Ghouta, which has been under government siege since 2013.
The blockade has caused serious food and medicine shortages, and pushed the prices for what remains beyond the reach of impoverished residents.
At least two children are reported to have died from malnourishment or related complications in recent weeks, and more than 1,100 other children are reportedly suffering acute malnutrition.
On Monday, several dozen trucks carrying assistance for 40,000 people entered Eastern Ghouta as part of a United Nations-Syrian Arab Red Crescent convoy.
It was the first aid access since September, despite repeated requests from the UN and humanitarian actors for consistent access to besieged areas like Eastern Ghouta.
On Tuesday, 11 people including six school children were killed in regime shelling on the town of Jisreen in Eastern Ghouta, the Observatory said.
More than 330,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict began in March 2011 with anti-government protests.