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Air strikes kill at least 17 civilians in Syria rebel enclave: monitor
14 January 2018, 01:51 | Devin Moran
30 Syrian Civilians Reported Killed East of Damascus
The U.N. says government forces are holding 400,000 people under siege in eastern Ghouta.
Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said "violent clashes were taking place" Thursday close to the base, the only one in eastern Ghouta still held by President Bashar al-Assad's forces.
They said five others were killed in other areas.
Nine women and two children were among the 18 people killed, it said, adding that the number might rise because some of the injured were in a critical condition.
35 others were also wounded in the eastern Ghouta.
Victims were taken to a hospital in Douma, where an AFP correspondent saw rescuers bringing in mostly women and children. A young girl among the wounded received stitches for a serious injury to her face. "One of them lost both eyes and the other lost one eye".
The area, which has been under siege by regime forces since December 2012, falls within a network of de-escalation zones - set up in Syria by Turkey, Russia, and Iran - in which acts of aggression are officially forbidden.
There was no immediate comment from the Russian military, which is providing air support to government forces in the area but insists it has never targeted civilians.
In the single biggest loss of military hardware for Russian Federation since it launched air strikes in Syria in autumn 2015, more than 10 servicemen were wounded in the attack by "radical Islamists", the report said.
Moscow has declared its mission in Syria largely completed after a two-year intervention that has shifted the conflict firmly in Assad's favor.
Russian Federation began establishing a permanent presence at Hmeymim and a naval base at Tartous last month, although President Vladimir Putin has ordered a "significant" withdrawal of his military from Syria, declaring their work largely done. 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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