At least 16 civilians were killed by the Bashar al-Assad regime in eastern Ghouta and Idlib, Syria on Saturday, according to a source from the White Helmets Syrian Civil Defence group.
Regime forces began intensified artillery and air attacks on an area that is part of a de-escalation zone, said the source, who asked not to be named due to security concerns.
Regime forces targeted the Hammuriye, Cisrin, Arbin, Misraba, Marj, Haresta and Medyere regions with heavy artillery and air attacks, the source added.
Eight people died in the village of Hammuriye, while two others were killed in Medyere, and three civilians were also killed in Arbin.
The wounded were taken to hospitals by civil defence teams, but more casualties from the attacks are feared.
Regime forces also carried out separate artillery and air attacks in de-escalation areas in the Idlib and Latakia provinces, killing three civilians in Idlib.
Mustafa Haj Yusuf, the White Helmets director in Idlib, told Anadolu Agency that Syrian regime and Russian warplanes had targeted a number of areas in the province, including the villages of Mardikh and Khan al-Subul and the Khan Sheikhun district as well as the villages of Tuffahiye and Abdin in Latakia.
“Assad regime and Russian warplanes and helicopters have been striking since this morning, killing three civilians and injuring six others,” Yusuf said.
Assad forces have been bombing Eastern Ghouta since last November.
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.