At least seven children have been killed and dozens injured in the besieged province of Eastern Ghouta, after the Syrian regime shelled an elementary school on Tuesday, according to Syria Direct.
Reported bombing across the Damascus suburb prompted school officials in the town of Jisreen to send students home early. As the children were exiting the building, an artillery shell struck the door of the school, according to Bassam Al-Tounsi, spokesman for the area’s local education directorate.
Five children were killed immediately and at least one man, who was selling sweets outside also died.
In a video released by Jisreen Media Office, injured children covered in blood can be seen screaming, whilst others sit mute in shock. At least seven of the dozens wounded were believed to be in critical condition, one boy having lost both his legs.
Doctors treating the patients complained of an intense lack of medicine, due to the ongoing siege enforced by Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s government.
The attack marks the second regime bombing on a school in just three days. On Sunday, Syrian forces bombed a kindergarten in the nearby town of Kafr Batna, forcing children to flee for their lives.
Eastern Ghouta is one of four de-escalation zones established in May by Russia, Iran and Turkey in order to stem the bloodshed of Syria’s six-year civil war. However, the region has been subjected to intensified airstrikes from the Syrian regime in recent months, despite such attacks being expressly forbidden by the terms of the agreement.
The province is also suffering from a tightening of the blockade imposed since 2013, after an offensive by the Syrian regime earlier this year cut underground smuggling routes that formerly allowed civilians access to food, fuel and medicine.
Yesterday, an aid convoy from the UN and Syrian Arab Red Crescent arrived in Eastern Ghouta, bringing aid to 40,000 people for the first time since June 2016. The 49 trucks were allowed to enter after the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein warned of the deteriorating situation, calling for the parties in the conflict to allow food and medicines into the relevant areas.
Since the start of Syria’s civil war in 2011, more than half a million people are believed to have been killed, the vast majority by President Bashar Al-Assad’s government and allied forces.