Up to 15 civilians, including three children and three women, were killed along with several wounded as the town of Saqba, eastern Ghouta, Damascus, was struck by air raids, local media reported, though culpability was contested.
Like many other towns in eastern Ghouta, it was the third day in a row that Saqba was being struck. Masrawy News reported that eastern Ghouta was struck by both “air, missile and artillery fire.” Images from Saqba following the incident depicted how large parts of the city was left in rubble, including residential buildings and a hospital.
While Zaman al-Wasl reported the lowest death toll, two, most reports noted at least four fatalities. However, the following day, February 22nd, the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SN4HR) reported that the strikes had claimed “at least 15 civilians, including three children and three women, due to intensive shelling by Syrian/Russian warplanes on the city”.
According to al-Araby, five civilians were left wounded while others reported about “several” injured.
Besides from air raids, multiple reports mentioned that helicopters had launched explosive barrels. For example, al-Araby, who cited local sources in eastern Ghouta said that “the helicopter flew explosive barrels at the field hospital in the town of Saqba, hit the wall, which led to the hospital out of work, and wounding two medical staff were injured.”
Marshad al-Hassaka, who blamed Russian warplanes, said that residential neighbourhoods had been hit by rocket-propelled grenades, while Masrawy News counted four concussion rockets.
Sources were unclear in terms of culpability, as blame was apportioned to either Russia, the Syrian regime – or both – across the sources. It should be noted that Masrawy News blamed both Assad and Turkish warplanes – a rather rare allegation for eastern Ghouta.
The local time of the incident is unknown.
Sources (20) [ collapse]
Russian Armed Forces Assessment:
Original strike reports
Russia has not reported any strikes between February 1st - 28th 2018.