Syrian government forces pounded a town in the eastern Ghouta with air strikes on Wednesday in an effort to slice the rebel enclave in two as they intensified a campaign to deal the opposition its biggest defeat since 2016.
The Syrian government assault of the densely populated area on the outskirts of Damascus, which began more than two weeks ago, has become one of the fiercest campaigns of the war now entering its eighth year. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group says 800 civilians have been killed by government bombing and shelling.
Live footage broadcast by Syrian state TV from the outskirts of the town of Mesraba showed enormous clouds of smoke rising into the sky. The sounds of explosions and jets could be heard.
A state TV correspondent said militant defenses in the town were being struck by “preparatory fire” in advance of a planned infantry assault.