Syrian warplanes kill 76, injure 140 in eastern Ghouta, monitor says

Syrian government airstrikes killed about 76 people, including 20 children, and injured 140 others on Thursday, the fourth day of attacks against a rebel-held region, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports.

Rebel-held region near Damascus getting pounded, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports

Syrian reacts following an airstrike in the rebel-held enclave of Arbin in eastern Ghouta near Damascus on Thursday. (Amer Almohibany/AFP/Getty Images)

Syrian government airstrikes killed about 76 civilians, including 20 children, and injured 140 others on Thursday, the fourth day of attacks against a rebel-held region, a war monitor reported.

Warplanes pounded various parts of eastern Ghouta, a besieged pocket of satellite towns and farms near the Syrian capital of Damascus, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group.

There was no immediate comment from the Syrian army.

The death toll rose after the bombing of a market in the village of Arbin, where airstrikes killed 27, including 10 children and three women, the monitor said.

The Observatory said the eastern Ghouta death toll from four days of bombardment has reached 229, including 58 children.

A Syrian man carries a child following reported Syrian air force strikes in the rebel-held town of Saqba, in the besieged eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of the capital Damascus on Thursday. (Abdulmonam Eassa/AFP/Getty Images)

The International Committee of the Red Cross in Syria expressed distress at the deteriorating security and humanitarian conditions in the area.

"Thousands are struggling to survive without aid, or a safe place from the line of fire" in eastern Ghouta, it said in a tweet. 

The Syrian government has repeatedly said it only targets militants.

In Damascus, shelling of the old city quarter by rebel factions in eastern Ghouta killed two civilians and damaged houses and properties.

Members of Syrian civil defence forces known as White Helmets rescue a victim of an airstrike in the rebel-held enclave of Arbin in eastern Ghouta on Thursday. (Amer Almohibany/AFP/Getty Images)

UN calls for ceasefire 

The United Nations called on Tuesday for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Syria of at least a month.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said the United States supports the UN ceasefire call. She said the goal is to allow humanitarian aid and medical care to flow to more than 700 civilians in eastern Ghouta. 

The U.S. said Russia must use its influence over Bashar al-Assad's forces to ensure Syria immediately allows UN aid to reach vulnerable civilians.

Nauert said the U.S. is "extremely concerned" about the growing violence in eastern Ghouta, as well as in Idlib.  

With files from The Associated Press and CBC News