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Syrian regime raids on Damascus area kill 12: monitor

Damascus: Syrian regime air raids on the rebel-held Eastern Ghouta area near the capital today killed 12 civilians, a monitoring group said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported five people killed in regime barrel bomb raids in the Aleppo region in the north, taking to 82 the civilian death toll in such attacks in the province this week.

Around the capital, the air force carried out five raids on Arbin in Eastern Ghouta, killing the 12 who included three women and two children, and wounding dozens, the Britain-based Observatory said.

It also said helicopters dropped 28 barrel bombs in the Zabadani area, the last rebel bastion near the border with Lebanon.

Two people were killed in four air raids on the town, the Observatory said, adding that three rebels were killed trying to infiltrate the nearby town of Douma.

Syrian government forces backed by fighters from Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollah militia have been on the attack in the Zabadani area for the past week.

Zabadani, 47 kilometres (29 miles) northwest of Damascus on the road to Beirut, is strategic to Hezbollah and rebels have been under siege there for more than two years.

Many residents have left as stocks of food and medicines dried up because of the siege, but activists say there are still a few thousand civilians there, mostly in eastern districts.

In Aleppo province, the Observatory said regime helicopters dropped barrel bombs on Aysheh village near Al-Bab, killing five people including a woman and a baby.

For more than a week government forces have been targeting Al-Bab which is controlled by the jihadist Islamic State group.