Rebel rocket fire kills 35 in Damascus suburb


Rockets fired on a market in a government-controlled neighborhood of Damascus on Tuesday killed 35 people and wounded more than 20 others, Syrian state-run media said, marking one of the highest death tolls in a single attack targeting the capital.

"The place was full of people buying presents for Mother's Day", the 41-year-old said, adding the market is next to an army checkpoint.

Rebel groups have stepped up artillery attacks since pro-government forces launched a major air and ground assault on the Eastern Ghouta a month ago.

Syrian rescue workers say at least nine people have been killed in airstrikes targeting a camp for displaced people in north Syria.

In May past year, Russia, Iran and Turkey signed an agreement to set up de-escalation zones, in order to prevent airstrike-related incidents in some parts of Syria.

There have been several reports in recent weeks that Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad's forces have used chlorine gas in the rebel-held area near Damascus.

Sources from Syrian Civil Defense, also known as the White Helmets, said that 59 civilians were killed in bombardments, including three civilians in the town of Harasta and 56 others in the Douma district.

An AFP correspondent in Douma reported heavy bombardment through the night from Monday to Tuesday that left ambulances struggling to reach the wounded.

Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said the regime was sending reinforcements to retake Qadam, which was attacked from the adjacent IS-controlled neighbourhood of Hajar al-Aswad.

The two-month offensive has displaced around 100,000 people, a lot of them to the town of Tal Rifaat further east, the United Nations has said.

Al-Walid was covering the takeover of Afrin by Turkish forces and Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) factions when a landmine planted in an office building exploded next to him, according to Murat Mahli, the Jarabulus Media Office director, who spoke with eyewitnesses.

Some 50,000 civilians have streamed out of the enclave into areas under government control.

The International Committee for the Red Cross said it was able to deliver 25 tons of humanitarian aid items, like blankets, diapers, lamps, and water tanks, to displaced Afrin families.